The Sustainable Social Care Programme
Catherine Max describes the aims and activities of the Sustainable Social Care Programme, which she leads on behalf of the Social Care Institute for Excellence (SCIE).
The Sustainable Social Care Programme encourages local authorities, as commissioners of adult social care services, to promote sustainable development across the sector, particularly to reduce carbon emissions and adapt to climate change.
Delivered by the Social Care Institute for Excellence (SCIE), the programme is funded by the Department of Health, with support from Local Government Improvement and Development and, up to March 2011, the Sustainable Development Commission.
The programme aims to demonstrate how sustainable development can:
- Help deliver the Government’s vision for adult social care, with capable communities and active citizens;
- Enable local service improvements, putting strong emphasis on prevention and partnership – with a focus on social, economic and environmental outcomes.
In 2010, SCIE published the following papers:
- Sustainable systems of social care – research commissioned from the Institute for Sustainability, Health and the Environment at the University of the West of England;
- Independence, community and environment – report of the local authority learning network, convened for SCIE by the Local Government Information Unit (LGiU).
During 2011-12, the programme is taking forward themes and recommendations from this work in the context of the new health and social care policy landscape. In particular,
Personalisation and stimulating the market for more sustainable care services
SCIE is working with community groups, commissioners and service providers in Bristol, in partnership with the Local Government Information Unit (LGiU) and the Association of Chief Executives of Voluntary Organisations (ACEVO). Investigation into local citizens’ priorities will inform the City Council’s strategies and service development, and foster collaboration between social care and environmental organisations.
Ethical implications of low carbon services
With multidisciplinary bioethics research centre Ethox, SCIE is devising a framework for decision-making which addresses ethical challenges posed by a sustainable development approach to health and social care. The work spans issues of health and environmental inequalities, inter-generational justice, and how to weight different social values in funding and policy decisions.
Sustainability, quality and productivity
SCIE is supporting a scoping review by the King’s Fund to research what is known about environmental sustainability in the social care sector, priorities for future research, and how action on sustainability can contribute to the quality, productivity and prevention agendas. This work is in parallel with NIHR-funded research focusing on healthcare. It is also linked to a collaboration with the NHS Sustainable Development Unit and others seeking to develop economic methodologies for health and social care which take account of environmental costs and benefits.
A series of seminars is planned for Autumn/Winter 2011 which will support knowledge transfer between academic research, policy-makers and practitioners on topics of mutual interest such as the understanding of risk in the context of climate change and the implications for care services and people in vulnerable circumstances.
- Review of Sustainable Systems of Social Care, Community Care, 4 March 2011
Research: towards a sustainable future with social care, by Robin Miller
- Article on the programme and related research, Community Care, 8 April 2011
Making Social Care Greener, by Louise Hunt
- Think-piece by Simon Evans, commissioned by International Longevity Centre-UK and British Society of Gerontology
Climate change and sustainable public services
- Local Government Improvement and Development
Sustainable Social Care online community of practice
- SCIE At a glance 23
Sustainable social care: climate change
- SCIE At a glance 28
Sustainable social care: the natural environment
Catherine Max is a strategic consultant and independent advisor specialising in sustainable development, health and social care.
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