My Experience

I am a health and social care practitioner, based in Oxford. I work as an independent facilitator, trainer, writer and speaker. I am a registered social worker and an accredited interpersonal mediation practitioner. I have been employed for more than thirty years as a manager and from 1999 as a commissioner of health and social care services, with particular experience in relation to people with mental health issues and people with learning difficulties. I have experience of working with local authorities across England and have a good working relationship with many national and international leaders in the field of self-directed support and personalisation. I began my career in East London and worked for both East Sussex and West Sussex County Councils.

I am passionate about the mission of transforming a system which consigns many citizens to the margins of society and suggests that they have nothing to offer. ‘Personalised support’ is necessary as an alternative to the old system – but it is not sufficient. We also need respect, sensitivity, and a recognition of the depths of our common humanity. Perhaps most important, we need to actively listen to individuals who use services and to their families and friends. Ultimately, we need to shift power and decision making into the hands of ordinary citizens – and recognise that paid staff are there to support them, not to run their lives. My experience suggests that there remains a role for skilled professionals in this process, but we need to radically re-think the nature of that role.

Working for In Control, Volunteering Matters and NDTi

Between 2005 and 2011 I worked for the organisation In Control, which under Simon Duffy’s leadership pioneered personal budgets in the UK. I held a variety of roles for In Control, including leading the social care programme with 120 English local authority members. I also led work on personalised commissioning, the role of professional social work and on helping people use their personal budgets to get a real job.

From 2011 I continued to work as an associate for In Control on both adults and children’s programmes; I also worked as an associate for Volunteering Matters, on both Strategic Partners and Integrated Personal Commissioning programmes; and for the National Development Team for Inclusion on a number of programmes, notably Community Led Support.

Writing

I enjoy writing and editing and have had more than twenty articles published over the years in a range of journals. I wrote or edited many of In Control’s publications. In 2011 I edited and co-wrote a book with friends from the independent living movement entitled, ‘Personalisation and Learning Disabilities’ (OLM Pavilion, February 2011).

Recent and Current work

2019 is a sabbatical year for me when I plan to see more of my family, to travel and to reflect.  I expect to return to work in January 2020 – either to the same sort of consultancy work or to something slightly different. In the meantime please contact me if you wish to do so using the information below.

Andrew Tyson,  November 2018