Hilary Cottam: Social services are broken. How we can fix them
Hilary Cottam wants to redesign the welfare state using the power of relationships. Full bio
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social problems of this century.
like all these problems
unemployment, violence, addiction --
like this that I know.
on a run down estate.
and never used,
the tension is palpable
with one of her daughters.
constant stream of abuse from the kitchen,
behind the bedroom door and straining.
and she knows no way out.
of abusive partners,
been taken into care by social services.
that still live with her
and none of them are in education.
is repeating the cycle
there were 73 different services
in the city where she lives,
run out of 24 departments in one city,
were known to most of them.
arguments that broke out.
on a regular basis by social workers,
a housing officer, a home tutor
that there are 100,000 families
social and environmental deprivation.
that managing this problem
per family per year
are making a difference.
with another family like Ella's.
in that family's life.
interventions is part of an overall plan.
are dealing with the underlying issues.
ways of managing a problem.
and then I leave."
with families like Ella's
just aren't working?
to live in Ella's family.
and what we can do differently.
is that cost is a really slippery concept.
that a family like Ella's
a year to manage,
a quarter of a million pounds a year.
actually touches Ella's family
like this costly gyroscope
keeping them stuck at its heart,
with the frontline workers,
is an impossible situation.
for Ella's 14-year-old son Ryan,
servicing the system:
filling out forms,
to discuss the forms,
he has to be with Ryan
and information for the system.
Have you been drinking?
rules out the possibility
of what's needed
between Tom and Ryan.
the professionals --
of their offices.
but ultimately so futile.
of absolute breakdown,
the leaders of the city where Ella lives
by reversing Ryan's ratio.
with Ella or a family like Ella's
working with the families
was in a best position to help them.
to be part of an interview panel,
the existing professionals
of work to manage a system,
and you want to make a difference.
everybody who came through the door,
starts kicking me?"
for the nearest exit
I'll call my supervisor."
"You're the system. Get out of here!"
is a policeman, and he says,
and then I'm not sure what I'll do."
going to talk in jargon.
and convinced the mothers
through thick and thin,
be soft with them.
of the former budget,
in any way they chose.
went out for supper.
and they talked and they listened
to start a social enterprise.
and the workers.
changes took place.
some big steps backwards
an IT training course,
her children are back in school,
would be moved anywhere
involved in this transformation --
has been supported to change.
because I think that relationships
are all but written off
our welfare institutions.
really has to change.
human bonds between us,
of connection, of belonging,
that support us to change,
and try something new.
in the institutions
Ella and her family
designed out of a welfare model
and exported around the world.
of the first welfare state
the average sensual or emotional man.
of the impersonal system
and work in this system.
sees social issues
sold over 100,000 copies
on a November night to get hold of a copy,
across the colonies, across Europe,
were designed around the globe.
the institutions -- they are global,
like common sense.
see them anymore.
that in the 20th century,
the eradication of mass disease,
of today's challenges.
than a lifetime of smoking?
one person over 60 -- one in three --
another person in a week.
with this problem;
of the Western world.
in countries like China,
mass migration, has left older people
designed and exported --
by a traditional bureaucratic response.
wanting to understand this problem,
of about 60 older people
observing and listening.
what we could do differently.
they want two things.
and change a light bulb,
come out of hospital.
with like-minded people,
made friends at every stage of our lives.
hired a couple of handymen,
a toll-free 0 800 number
for any support.
for so many reasons.
their pets are unwell,
how to use their mobile phone,
a rich social calendar --
hot air ballooning -- you name it.
the really deep change:
that have formed
going into hospital for a hip operation,
they wouldn't see her for a bit.
calls her back and says, "How can I help?"
Tony's doing the gardening,
to come in and cook and chat."
had organized themselves
that she feels 25 inside,
when she joined Circle.
to come along to that first event
natural friendships formed,
the need for expensive services.
that are making the difference.
at the heart and center
as financial, of doing business as usual.
these approaches to scale
thousands of people.
is really simple,
like databases, mobile phones.
system that underpins it,
a membership of up to a thousand.
with a neighborhood organization
just wasn't possible,
that the spine of technology can provide.
underpinned by technology
models on their heads.
about institutions with finite resources,
up to 80 percent of resource
accessing the service
that we and others have designed,
the more relationships,
and final story,
in the world,
even more efficient and transactional --
people into ever-smaller categories,
more efficiently -- in other words,
most new jobs are not advertised.
that helps you find work.
this evening are thinking,
a friend that showed you the ad
this rich and diverse network
and failure of current systems,
with relationships at its heart.
that encourages people to meet up,
the results of these new systems
with our first 1,000 members,
by a factor of three,
that a social platform would do.
and connect them with each other,
and supporting people to find work.
a dreadful mistake.
and their communities out.
led to seeing people,
of the bureaucracies and the institutions.
were already withering.
was much less read
and their communities
we design new systems and new services,
these old, transactional,
the shared collective relational responses
and up the skills curve
of education, of health care systems,
that are pressing on our societies.
resource we have.
ABOUT THE SPEAKERHilary Cottam - Innovator and social entrepreneur
Hilary Cottam wants to redesign the welfare state using the power of relationships.
Why you should listen
In its current functioning, based on the ideas first put forth in Britain by Sir William Beveridge in 1942 and then adopted around the world, the welfare state expressly designs out people’s capabilities and relationships, focusing instead on impersonal systems and rules. Sixty years on, the welfare state is failing its purpose and leaving people behind.
Hilary Cottam believes that a solution can be found in putting relationships squarely in the middle of it, and she has the examples and stories to prove it.
Cottam's recent award winning work includes: new systems to support an ageing population; a prison that reduces re-offending; new approaches to chronic disease and unemployment.
She has advised governments, companies and third sector organisations in the UK and internationally. She was educated at Oxford, Sussex and the Open University. She was awarded her PhD in 1999. She currently lives and works in London.
Hilary Cottam | Speaker | TED.com