Sarah Rufrancos posing

In the Trust

This month I attended the annual Conservative Party Conference in Birmingham. The conference was a great opportunity to meet other organisations to talk about the Trust’s work and form new working relationships. I had a long conversation with the Stroke Association about post-acute rehabilitation pathways for people affected by stroke, and I hope this will be an area for future collaborative work. I also spoke about with a charity supporting veterans and the prison officers’ union about our Foundation’s work supporting vulnerable communities with acquired brain injury.

At the conference I attended a number of standing-room-only events on health and social care, where Ministers and other senior figures from the public and third sector discussed how to protect service provision and funding for people who receive social care. The Trust is a member of the Care and Support Alliance and I attended their event raising awareness of the needs of people with disabilities with the Government.

A number of Government policies that may affect the people we support were announced at the conference. The Secretary of State for the Department of Work and Pensions, Damian Green, announced that disabled people with ‘the most severe lifelong conditions’ will not have to undergo repeated assessments in order to claim out-of-work benefits. We welcome this decision and Green’s commitment to working with disability charities, and look forward to hearing the finer details about which conditions will be eligible.

The Secretary of State for Justice, Liz Truss, confirmed that as part of the prison reform programme prisoners will receive more one-to-one support from prison officers to address their needs and reduce reoffending. The Trust welcomes this initiative. We responded to the Justice Committee’s inquiry into prison reform earlier in the month, highlighting the high prevalence of brain injury in prisons and suggesting a tailored screening and support scheme such as that delivered by our prison Linkworkers would hugely benefit prisoners with brain injury.

Later in October we look forward to welcoming several MPs to our services – if you would like to arrange a political visit do get in touch. We will also be continuing to raise awareness of the Brain Injury Needs Indicator (BINI), our free resource for use in adult social care assessments. The BINI celebrates its first birthday this month and has more than 350 registered users across the UK. Further work is being done to gather case studies and evidence about the impact of the BINI. Brain injury resources for social workers to give to families are also being considered in light of the work BIRT has already undertaken with families. We will be presenting the BINI at a series of workshops for social workers in early 2017 - learn more on the BISWG website.

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