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Person Centred Planning 'Tools'

Author: Peter Kinsella

Peter Kinsella was a leading figure in social policy in the United Kingdom. He established the social enterprise Paradigm and led the development of supported or independent living for people with learning disabilities as an alternative to residential and institutional care. In 2010 he left Paradigm to set up the award-winning restaurant Lunya. In this article, written in 2010, Peter looks back over his time in human services and describes his frustration at the nonsense of jargon and 'tools'.

Why is there this tendency to over-complicate everything in services? In 2001, I wrote about the risk of professionalising and industrialising Person Centred Planning, and both predictions have sadly come true.

A simple question or exercise is no longer that, it is now a 'tool', that needs special materials, people trained in it, accredited in it, books written about it and a simplified message that to every problem or issue, there’s a tool that will solve it.

If only people’s lives (and the support to change them) were as simple as building a house where getting the right materials and buying a few simple tools will do the job: a cement mixer to mix the cement, a trowel to layer the cement, a hod to carry the bricks, a saw to cut the wood etc.

Today, everywhere I look, I see the same old exercises and questions dressed up slightly different as mind-blowing new tools that will get people the lives they want, sort out budget deficits, aggregate planning information, and on and on it goes. I met a family this week who wanted to do some planning with their son, but thought that they had to wait for ‘tools training’. What has the world come to?

Let’s call a spade a spade and not introduce language which is alien, nor dress up a simple question that may or may not be helpful as some innovation that is going to make all the difference. If only we put as much time and effort into the action bit of planning (and making things happen), rather than the endless analysis, sifting of information, 101 different questions and pretty bits of paper. Maybe a new year campaign beckons: "Give me a life not a tool!"

However, it does not end there, language seems to be constantly changed or invented to describe some incredibly simple things which most of us understand. Why is that? Is it to make professionals seem superior, to give an air of doing something new or different? Co-production is the latest buzz word. What does it mean? Well it has replaced ‘partnership’, but it means doing or making something together. Why on earth cannot people say that. Maybe another new year campaign, "I want a life not co-production", or maybe as the lack of a sex life and relationships often comes up as an issue for people with learning difficulties, how about  "reproduction not co-production".

Seriously, I think it just confuses people. I tried to use the word (through gritted teeth) with a couple of people outside of this sector this week; they had no idea what I was getting at. Maybe it’s a good time for me to be getting out of this sector as, if it is becoming all about co-production and "3 whiches and a when" - then roll on the heat of the kitchen!


The publisher is the Centre for Welfare Reform.

Person Centred Planning 'Tools' © Peter Kinsella 2010.

All Rights Reserved. No part of this paper may be reproduced in any form without permission from the publisher except for the quotation of brief passages in reviews.

Library

The Trouble With Person-Centred Planning

The Trouble With Person-Centred Planning

John O'Brien, one of the innovators who developed person-centred planning, reflects on the trouble that comes as systems begin to adopt the innovation.

Person-Centred vs System-Centred with Beth Mount

Person-Centred vs System-Centred

This film by Open Future Learning with Beth Mount explores Person-Centred vs System-Centred planning.

Person Centred Planners Lose the Plot

Person Centred Planners Lose the Plot

The story of how one self-advocate with learning difficulties came into conflict with the Person Centred Planning industry.

What Would I Want From A Support Planner?

What Would I Want From A Support Planner

Liam Toner explores the qualities he would look for in a support planner and how we support people to plan for themselves.

The Key to Support Planning

The Key to Support Planning

Liam Toner explains how support planning could become genuinely empowering rather than just another bureaucratic hurdle.

Personal Planning

Personal Planning

It is sometimes useful to have a plan and sometimes local bodies may seek to confirm the competence of people with Individual Budgets by reviewing plans.

Planning with Families

Planning with Families

Pippa Murray summarises the main things you need to do to help families plan for themselves and disabled family members.

Personal Plan

Personal Plan

Plans should be personal - and they should integrate care, support, education or whatever else people need to plan for.

Don't Monkey with People's Lives

Don't Monkey with People's Lives

Carl Poll gets to the heart of why the relationship between professionals and citizens can often go so wrong - and what we can do about it.

Travels in Human-Based Development

Travels in Human-Based Development

Pete Richmond sets out what we can learn from Manavodaya a development organisation based in India and the UK, in relation to the idea of personalisation.

[R]evolution Road

[R]evolution Road

Veena Vasista explores the connections between individual internal change and the journey of creating political, economic and social systems that are liberating.

Working on the Inside

Working on the Inside

Kate Fulton offers insight into the inner dimension of change that is essential to working respectfully and with compassion.