Ian Loynes and Robert Droy from SCIL recently attended the first session of the Hampshire Personalisation Commission. Throughout the day, we discussed with members of the audience how they felt about the Commission and their observations of the first session.
Firstly without wishing to be overly negative, the format and acoustics of the venue was not particularly accessible for many of the participants. There was no sign language interpreter at the session but we presume this would have been provided if an participant had requested it. We were also disappointed with the lack of diversity amongst both the commissioners, witnesses, and the audience in general. ‘White, middle aged, and middle class’ was one comment we heard.
Despite the session being entitled ‘People and Carers’, out of the 7 people who gave evidence, 3 people were actually ‘professionals’ who gave lengthy presentations which were followed up by questions. Their evidence, whilst useful, may have been better suited to a later session.
In contrast, the ‘people’ and ‘carers’ were asked to give very brief presentations with no opportunity for the commissioners to question them further. We feel this was a missed opportunity to really capture from the ‘users’ themselves why personalisation was so important. This part of the evidence was summed up by the Commission Chair as ‘moving’ and ‘uplifting’. Whilst these comments were well meaning, they were construed by many as slightly patronising and not viewing the evidence on an equal level as the evidence given by the other witnesses.
The round table discussions in the afternoon were found to be much more successful but unfortunately were only open to a ‘select’ group of invited guests. Some of the common themes have however been summarised in a document on the Hampshire Personalisation Commission website, along with much of the other evidence and presentations at each session.
The next session is on June 12 and you can apply for tickets for that session until May 20 by visiting the website or by calling 01962 833 040. Leave your name, telephone number and address and they will post an application form to you