M C C H Society

A Message from Lord Pickles and Lord Blunkett, followed by M C C H Society's best practice article

The ability to listen and learn from one another has always been vital in parliament, in business and in most aspects of daily life. But at this particular moment in time, as national and global events continue to reiterate, it is uncommonly crucial that we forge new channels of communication and reinforce existing ones. The following article from M C C H Society is an attempt to do just that. We would welcome your thoughts on this or any other Parliamentary Review article.

Blunkett signature Rt Hon The Lord David Blunkett
Pickles signature Rt Hon The Lord Eric Pickles


Group Director of Operations
Mel Shad
The Beeches Forensic
Mental Health Service,
Founded in 1988, Choice Support provides services for
people with learning disabilities, mental health issues
and autism. Based in Maidstone, they provide care and
support, aiming to build independence for people who use
their range of services including, but not limited to, registered
care, supported living, community wellbeing and day services
and a range of social enterprises. In December 2018, Choice
Support completed a merger with mcch. Director of Operations
Mel Shad discusses how they have adopted an alternative
approach to supporting people, aiming to empower individuals
with a range of complex needs and to integrate them into their
We provide unique, community-based services for people with learning disabilities,
autism and mental health issues. Our services build independence and help
integrate people into their local communities. Because a lot of our services are
based in accessible and mainstream environments, we remove the physical
barriers individuals feel may lie between them and engagement with their local
communities. For example, we encourage individuals to use local community
resources like leisure centres and libraries to build their confidence and develop
We evolved out of the closure of long-stay hospitals, resettling people in the
community. Over time we grew and expanded across Kent and the neighbouring
counties. We established multidisciplinary approaches, supporting individuals with
»Group Director of Operations:
Mel Shad
»Founded in 1988
»Based in Maidstone, Kent
»Number of employees: 3,000
»People supported: 2,300
»Services: Providing services
for people with learning
disabilities, mental health
issues and autism
Choice Support
Highlighting best practice
»Vision – A world where
everyone matters and
everyone cares
»Values – We care, we
respect, we learn, we
a range of complex needs. Today,
we offer a diverse range of services,
working across the southeast. Our
recent merger with Choice Support
has provided us with national coverage
and a joint turnover of just under
We offer wellbeing and job retention
services to help people into work,
before supporting them in their new
role. We aim to destigmatise mental
health issues, learning disabilities and
autism. In the past, individuals with
these challenges have been largely
ignored by society, but we actively
challenge this practice and provide
them with the support they need
to integrate safely and comfortably,
so they can fulfil their aspirations
and live full and rich lives. To this
end, our services are designed to
educate communities as a whole and
encourage inclusion.
We also provide specialist housing
services, with a dedicated housing
team designed to support people in
their tenancies alongside their support
service. We do this because we want
people to have safe and homely
environments to live in while they
build their skills and move towards
independence. We have extensive
development experience, designing
and building dedicated services for
people with a range of needs and
have won awards for our innovative
buildings. To maximise choice and
control, we work directly with families
and individuals and design services to
meet their individual needs, utilising
personal budgets.
Our vision and values
Our ethos is built on a vision of a world
in which all people, regardless of their
disabilities, are treated equally and
fairly. We are a caring organisation
that welcomes all people, no matter
their background or circumstance.
We believe that people who access
our services aspire to achieve the
same things as anyone else in society:
to have somewhere to live, to do
something fulfilling and to have
someone to do things with. With our
support, we hope individuals accessing
our services will achieve this.
Empowerment is a crucial aspect of our
service and we provide our people with
the tools to achieve what is important
to them. Personalisation can be an
overused term in social care, but we
are committed to placing the individual
at the centre of their support, so they
can make informed choices about their
lives and achieve tangible outcomes.
Building relationships
underpins meaningful
support and individual
We offer
wellbeing and
job retention
services to
help people
into work,
them in their
new role
We include people who are important
to them in this process and develop a
circle of support within which they feel
safe and can succeed. We believe in
positive risk-taking and support people
to make informed decisions about
what they want to do and how they
want to do it. We believe in people
until they can believe in themselves.
We help people to take incremental
steps towards their identified
objectives, encouraging them to
achieve what they may have previously
viewed as impossible. Pushing their
limits and boundaries, but at their own
pace, enables individuals to achieve a
life they may have thought was out of
their reach. We build risk management
structures and safety nets around
people to help them do this.
Tackling stigmas
We face a number of challenges
as a care provider, but we are
always willing and able to respond
accordingly. Firstly, we work constantly
to improve understanding and
behaviour towards people who use our
services and strive to integrate people
into their communities to help with
this. The stigmas surrounding mental
health issues and learning disabilities
are hurtful and damaging and we aim
to reduce their prevalence in society.
Secondly, we are contracted to provide
services by statutory bodies such as
local authorities, CCGs and health
trusts. The last few years have been very
difficult for them and, by extension,
for us. We have seen funding levels
cut drastically year on year, with
an expectation for us to continue
to deliver services, but without the
commensurate funds to do so. We are
experiencing significant financial loss
as a result of these cuts and are having
to constantly try and make efficiencies
to respond; however, like many other
providers, we are reaching a stage
where there are no more efficiencies
to be made and service provision will
inevitably reduce or end as a result. It
is our view that we are going to reach
breaking point as a sector in the very
near future, and we are concerned
about what this will mean for people
needing services going forward.
Finally, the public’s understanding of
social care and its importance is a key
challenge. It’s hard to get behind us if
people don’t know who we are and
what we do. We work with people who
are often invisible and marginalised
and these groups aren’t always
recognised or popular in society, so
we have an uphill struggle to generate
public empathy andunderstanding.
We help
people to take
steps towards
their identified
them to
achieve what
they may have
viewed as
Learning basic life skills,
helps people to manage
their own homes


This article was sponsored by M C C H Society. The Parliamentary Review is wholly funded by the representatives who write for it. The publication in which this article originally appeared contained the following foreword from Rt Hon Kwasi Kwarteng.

Rt Hon Kwasi Kwarteng's Foreword For The Parliamentary Review

By Rt Hon Kwasi Kwarteng

This year’s Parliamentary Review reflects on a tumultuous and extraordinary year, globally and nationally. As well as being an MP, I am a keen student of history, and I am conscious that 2020 would mark the end of an era. It will be remembered as the year in which we concluded Brexit negotiations and finally left the European Union. Above all, it will be remembered as the year of Covid-19.

In our fight against the pandemic, I am delighted that our vaccination programme is beginning to turn the tide – and I pay tribute to the British businesses, scientists and all those who have helped us to achieve this. But the virus has dealt enormous damage, and we now have a duty to rebuild our economy.

We must ensure that businesses are protected. We have made more than £350 billion available to that end, with grants, business rates relief and our furlough scheme supporting more than 11 million people and jobs in every corner of the country, maintaining livelihoods while easing the pressure on employers. The next step is to work with business to build back better and greener, putting the net zero carbon challenge at the heart of our recovery. This is a complex undertaking, but one which I hope will be recognised as a once in a lifetime opportunity.

Through the prime minister’s ten point plan for a green industrial revolution, we can level up every region of the UK, supporting 250,000 green jobs while we accelerate our progress towards net zero carbon emissions.

With our commitment to raise R&D spending to 2.4% of GDP and the creation of the Advanced Research & Invention Agency, we are empowering our fantastic researchers to take on groundbreaking research, delivering funding with flexibility and speed. With this approach, innovators will be able to work with our traditional industrial heartlands to explore new technologies, and design and manufacture the products on which the future will be built – ready for export around the globe.

And I believe trade will flourish. We are a leading nation in the fight against climate change. As the host of COP26 this year, we have an incredible opportunity to market our low-carbon products and expertise. Our departure from the EU gives us the chance to be a champion of truly global free trade; we have already signed trade deals with more than 60 countries around the world.

As we turn the page and leave 2020 behind, I am excited about the new chapter which Britain is now writing for itself, and for the opportunities which lie ahead of us.
Rt Hon Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy