Who are we and how we work
Pragmatic Practitioners is an informal network of professional individuals whose work includes support to people at difficult times in their lives.
We are solicitors, educators, financial advisers and investigators, safeguarding specialists, providers of services to the care sector consultants and researchers …….
We are aware that, while confident in the quality of our own area of practice, we do not fully understand the work of other practitioners in allied professions that also assist people at vulnerable stages of their lives. As with most of the rest of the population, we have some comprehension but do not fully understand the rules and processes that drive the many organisations that affect the lives of the members of our society when they may be vulnerable.
The purpose, therefore, of Pragmatic Practitioners is firstly to assist us in understanding each other’s realm of expertise but seek to contribute to the care and support of people. The outcome of our work will naturally create an improved capacity to provide more complete assistance to people as they establish care and support. The variations of how this happens will be as diverse as the people in our communities.
The realisation that a family member (or we) needs support in their lives is emotionally challenging. Often, we would rather not think about it, as a result when the need becomes unavoidable people feel a loss of control that adds to the challenge. It is at this point that people begin to see the complexity of the systems and organisational requirements that they have to find their way through. The members of Pragmatic Practitioners all work in or alongside those systems and requirements yet it is only when we have to support a person close to us that we begin to comprehend the complexity we have to deal with.
Pragmatic Practitioners working method is to generate person (case) studies that describe a person, their situation and what they need to be able to live their lives as they choose. We then work, using all our collective expertise, to identify the opportunities, options and facilities to construct a map that will assist that person to get to the life they want.
Contributions to policy development
It is not news to say that social care, particularly that for older people, is in trouble. It may be on the verge of, perhaps already in, full-blown crisis.
How did social care get to be in such a difficult place? The quick answer is that successive governments (in England) have perpetuated a policy vacuum for social care. This is a vacuum of purpose, finance, the nature of services and the workforce. The debates, such as they have been, have missed the core purpose of social care – to be about how citizens can live the lives they want.
The vacuum of policy has resulted in a hugely complex and incoherent mix of eligibility criteria, poorly resourced services, unimplemented legislation and competing organisations. Not only is this dangerous for safeguarding of people at a vulnerable stage of their lives but also makes it all but impossible for citizens to be active in organising their own lives. Another effect of the complexity is that people begin to adapt to fit into the way services are offered rather than maintain their own individual needs and interests.
Clearly there is much be done with social care – National policy, funding and legislation. Pragmatic Practitioners will contribute to that from their individual and collective experience. However, our prime focus is to improve the ways we, as practitioners, will improve our understanding of all aspects of support to older people. By this we will assist people steer their way through and establish the lives they want.