The Learning Network North is an organization that is working with the whole social services sector in the north of Scotland. What we're aiming for today is to give people in the north the opportunity to engage with some of these major strategic changes that are happening within the sector.
The key thing, really, is around people being able to take more control over their own lives who are in receipt of social care, and finding way of being able to make sure that happens in a coherent way. At the same time as that, people have better outcomes in their lives and we actually see real change, as opposed to a process change.
A whole range of things. I've come from a social work background, so I think it's really good to see social work, not starting to talk actually, but social work has talked for a long time about being person-centered. But I think now you've got policy drivers that really help social workers think about what that means. The whole self-directed support agenda I think it really important. And obviously the citizen leadership agenda, which is about changing a culture, and social workers working more in partnership with people who use services, and actually acknowledging that people can be experts in their own lives and can assess their own needs, and can think about how to meet those needs.
But obviously, they need social work support within that, so I think it's quite exciting times, actually.
A bit better sense of what is happening with Changing Lives, what difference it is making. I'm also looking for what I can take away that I can use with my students. They're aware of it, but whether it's just a name to them. Whereas I'm able to say, "This is happening now," or, "This is going to be appearing quite soon. Look out for it." That helps to make it more real for them.
Well, actually for me, although I work in Scottish government and I have colleagues that work on a lot of the products that we have been hearing about this morning. The Changing Lives kind of tools that are coming out and the management frameworks and the continuous learning framework, it's really interesting for me to hear how much progress has happened out in the field and how much it's changed from two years ago when I came here to this conference and people were very much thinking Changing Lives was something that sat in the ether and didn't have much practical impact for a lot of people. But in two years, obviously it evident here that a lot of that has changed, and it's actually creating change out on the ground.
I think it is a clear sense of direction for the social work profession and a social workforce that is having to adapt and change to an increasingly complex environment. I think social work was almost rediscovered as a result of Changing Lives. And I think social work will have to adapt to what is an increasingly complex situation with regards to, for example, the needs of services users and the changing landscape in relation to organizations out there. Changing Lives, I suppose, will enable us all to be the architects of that change, and to buy into that and make sure that we play our part.
What it means to me is that in 10 or 20 or 30 years' time I might get a better deal than I would have done otherwise. I hope.