We have a mixture of plenary sessions and breakout sessions and I hope that we all will be able to both benefit from this and share expertise.
Nationally I believe that Adult Social Care is one of the biggest challenges we face as a country. The system as it is, is not working, and any government that is seriously thinking about the next 10 years rather than the next 10 months needs to tackle this.
Locally in Reading we can be proud of partners in the public, voluntary and private sectors who are determined to shape a vision that includes all our citizens.
I believe that Reading can be a town where all of us can thrive. For the council Adult Social Care is, and will remain the biggest budget but serving a minority of Reading’s residents.
To ensure the best lives possible for Reading’s people, while the council and other parts of the public sector, face continuing cuts, we all need to change our approach.
The bedrock of everything of course has to be keeping people safe.
Beyond that I believe our vision must include helping people be a part of their community and their local neighbourhood, working with people – not abandoning people but also not patronising and creating dependence.
It is essential that services and systems serve people not the other way around – which means that favourite buzz word integration, and a person and outcomes centred approach
And it also means a serious look at how we help people to die well and with dignity.
But most of all this it is about attitude - it means seeing people not as passive recipients of services but as full valuable human beings who can contribute and be part of Reading, regardless of their age, illness or abilities.
The result I believe we all want to achieve is that people in Reading live fulfilling lives – thriving as valued and valuable members of our communities, in whatever individual way that means for them.
Today is a step in shaping that approach and I hope that you will find it both useful and be able to share your expertise in creating a vision for a better