To recap on my time as a PCT capital programme manager, I co-ordinated the moves of 62 adults with learning disabilities from institutions to modern, self contained accommodation, personalising the design of bathrooms and kitchens.
I needed project management skills to deliver the outcomes of improved, tailored accommodation, through new build and refurbished properties, with help of a £10M capital budget.
The idea of supported living being all for the best, was not always easy for ‘stakeholders’, including relatives, to accept, when the thought of their loved one living alone in their flat, rather in a communal setting, caused fear. ‘Your brother, sister, son, daughter will have their own support team, focussed on doing things that they want to do’, I would explain
I also learnt about the workings of NHS and County Council at senior commissioner levels, and I worked with a wide range of professionals:
· Care Managers; Occupational Therapists; Speech therapists; visual impairment advisors; psychologists; housing association development managers, architects, Quantity Surveyors; advocates.
However, a central moment of my time came when, taking the prospective tenants round their new accommodation as part of a planned visit, one of the tenants asked me:
‘Simon, I don’t like it here, I don’t have to live here do I? (we had just spent a considerable sum on tailoring the flat to this tenant’s needs) – ‘I do have a choice, don’t I Simon?’ After a pause I replied: ‘Of course you have choices, and if you don’t want to live here, you don’t have to’.