Still Flabbergasted by Policies and Procedures.

Paradigm is passionate about ensuring ordinary lives for all. The journey to reinstate this dialogue began two years ago with a workshop facilitated by John O’Brien, Reconnecting Hearts and Minds. This event inspired us to create the national ‘Ensuring an Ordinary Life for All Network’.

Since then there has been a continuing groundswell of talk, ideas and increasingly action to enable us as a community of organisations, providers, families, carers and individuals to address the often nonsensical realities of people’s lives. This is about engaging all of our Hearts and all of our Minds in creating solutions and developing practice.

We continue to be stunned, amazed and flabbergasted at the ridiculous stories we hear as we connect with people and organisations on a daily basis. Stories of the barriers we continue to create that prevent people from living the ordinary, the real, the mundane and sometimes, even the very barest minimums of what is and should be acceptable in any one of our lives. When did we lose the heart and values? When did we lose the ability to think freely in response to individuals?


Network Members (over 200 people with learning disabilities, family members, supporters and managers) have identified seven themes that we all need to focus on to ensure Ordinary Lives.We have represented these in the graphic below.


The first of the seven themes we are focusing on as a national network, is Policies and Procedures to Free Me. Tomorrow, (Friday 5th September) John O’Brien is joining us to facilitate and lead discussions with CEOs, staff, people and families from 20 providers from across the UK. John  has written about the danger of ‘focusing attention on working efficiently within existing patterns of services to meet the requirements imposed by the many rule and regulations surrounding them’ (O’Brien, J. Reflecting on Social Roles, 2006) Reflecting on Social Roles.

This is exactly what network members want to avoid!

During the workshop we will consider: What are the Policies and Procedures needed?  What in, current Policies and Procedures, gets in the way and importantly agree what we are going to do to ensure Policies and Procedures enhance rather than limit. Here are just some of the ridiculous stories that flabbergast us and that will stimulate conversations tomorrow:

– A man wanting to buy a pair of shoes in the sale, can’t because he has to go back and request additional money from his appointee. This took 3 weeks and so the shoes had gone.

– A support worker was told by her manager that she couldn’t assist someone to apply sun cream, unless the sun cream had been prescribed by a GP.

– A support worker being proud of not hugging the man that she supports when he was crying about his Mother dying. She wanted to give him a hug, but ‘knows the rules’.

The workshop with John is kicking off a series of events for Network Members over the next 12-18 months. Creating and leading change is a challenging thing to do. It takes bravery. It takes strong, clear, collective voices. Paradigm are creating opportunities for individuals, communities, families and agencies to stand together, to support each other to create real change.  To bring values and humanity back into the core of organisations’ practices.

We look forward to sharing the conversation and ideas with you in the films we’ll post over the next fews weeks.

If you have stories, concerns, ideas to share please do respond here or e-mail

For information about the Ordinary Life Network, keep an eye on the Paradigm website.  Lots in info coming soon about how you can get involved.

We HAVE to free people from the crazy, impersonal system we have created

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Recent Comments

Eileen Flavelle
Very powerful stuff Sally.




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