Perry Walker writes (republished with permission of Social Care Future)

Last November, I came to Manchester for Social Care Future’s fringe event for the national adult social care conference. I was there to try out Talk Shop’s discussion kit on adult social care and its funding. Eight people came along, and very helpful was their feedback. One phrase was ‘too Daily Mail’; the word ‘transparency’ is jargon; don’t pick on Baby boomers; and so on.

We were inspired by the citizens assembly on the funding of adult social care that two parliamentary Select Committees commissioned last year. Also by the call for a national conversation by Sarah Wollaston MP, chair of the Health and Social Care Select Committee, when she launched her Committee’s report on this topic. We wanted many more people to be able to have the sort of rich conversations that members of the assembly had evidently had. Our starting point was the 30 hours of talk that the assembly had, the materials they used, plus some deliberative workshops that Ipsos MORI had run for the Kings Fund and the Health Foundation. We turned this into a discussion kit that people could use for a conversation of a couple of hours, or maybe a bit longer.

The kit mainly consists of a set of cards which are dealt out, read out and discussed. The first part explores the experience of people who have: developed care needs; tried to navigate the system; and so on. The next part uses an A3 infographic to explores facts, such as that two-thirds of the general public (horrible phrase!) think that social care for older people is provided by the NHS, or that the number of people over 65 needing social care will all but double over the coming half a century. The final part explores the big policy issues in relation to social care and its funding. What should the state provide and where should the money come from?

We will collate all the results and send them to the Department of Health and Social Care, plus anyone else we can think of.

The places where the discussion kit has already been used include private homes, University of the Third age groups, and a Sight Loss Council. The kits are free, and we are looking for events to be held by the end of October.

Contact Perry at if you would like to find out more

You can see a five minute video summarising the 50 events from our previous project, on driverless cars, here, and explore online some of the issues about adult social care and its funding covered by the discussion kit here.