Today we were privileged to be invited to the official launch of i-decide in Wandsworth. i-decide is a social enterprise that helps people with disabilities and mental health issues decide how to spend the money they receive directly from Local Authorities.
You may not know that in the past it was Social Workers who decided how such money should be spent, but this has changed to allow people entitled to help to ask for ‘Direct payments’. i-decide help them to decide how to spend this money. This includes innovations like helping individuals receiving help to act as employers to employ people who help them directly.
It’s no wonder that Wandsworth Council were interested in an initiative that takes unnecessary bureaucracy out of the loop and empowers the service users to choose which services they need.
Wandsworth Council have long had a reputation of having one of the lowest Council Taxes in the country together with one of the highest resident satisfaction ratings.
This de-bunks the often held myth by managers and politicians that good service costs more money – the reality is good service costs less than bad service, because rework, waste and trying to ‘manage cost’ all actually increase costs. The most enlightened leaders treat cost as an output and realise that cost is minimised by working on the system to improve the service process for customers.
One example of doing this is taking unnecessary steps out of the decision-making process and designing the system to meet customers real needs.
We share this philosophy and so we were delighted to be invited to i-decide’s launch.
We met some great people from i-decide including: Matthew Deefholts – a top man and i-decide Broker who has an office next door to ours in Battersea, and some of the i-decide Directors Rod Cullen, Jeff Skipp and Helen Meadows.
We met Angela Graham, Mayor of Wandsworth, who introduced us to a special school, Linden Lodge in Wimbledon, and swapped ideas on the growth of ADHD medication with Jane Ellison, the MP for Battersea.
We learned about the various forms of sensory impairment in sight and hearing, and learned that Apple are leading the field in building in features into iOS that Windows users typically have to pay £100s of not £1000s for. Blind people with Bluetooth braille readers can now integrate with their iPhones out of the box and receive direction information via braille when using Maps.
The irony is that the UK Government have not yet recognised that these Apple devices should be on the approved list of assistive technologies !
Where does BrainTrainUK fit into this ? I don’t know, we might fit in, we might not. These payments are meant to help people live with their conditions, not necessarily to improve their conditions. But if there is a legitimate way we can help these people, we will.