Louise Close

Independent Consultant and Trainer

I am a freelance consultant and trainer working in the adult social care field, specialising in the new personalisation agenda as part of the transformation of social care to a system in which people have true choice and control in their lives. I am deeply committed to equal rights and equality of opportunity, having worked alongside some of the most disadvantaged members of our society over the years and experienced an innate sense of injustice whenever I see people being judged differently to me because they look different, behave differently or perhaps have a “label” which others cannot understand.

During over twenty years of work in the sector I have had many varied roles both within local authority social services departments and in the provider sector, including my very first role as a day service officer in a centre for people with learning disabilities, a support worker within a specialist housing project for single vulnerable homeless people, and as an area manager for a large national provider. I have set up and managed an independent advocacy service for people being resettled from long stay institutions, established a patient welfare service in a charitable hospice and been a development manager for social services. Throughout my career I have always sought to champion people’s rights to live their lives their way and seized any opportunity to challenge any barriers which organisations or “systems” might out in the way of them doing so.

I am a trained and experienced manager, both operational and strategic, with a keen interest in issues around positive risk management and adult safeguarding. For example, I was instrumental in developing and implementing Cumbria Adult Social Care’s county wide Positive Risk Taking Policy and also worked closely with the Social Care Institute for Excellence (SCIE) writing their report on personalisation and risk “Enabling Risk, Ensuring Safety.” I also worked closely with In Control England on a whole suite of documents to support the culture change around risk management which is demanded by the personalisation agenda. I am a proven facilitator with an interest in organisational development and change management, and enjoy working both at a micro level, perhaps with a team of managers within a small provider organisation, and at a macro level, for example, with the strategic planning team for a local authority.

I have extensive experience of conference and event work, including delivering key note addresses and workshops as well as hosting or chairing the whole event. Throughout all of these roles, I strive to be quite deliberately challenging and to engage people to think creatively to find innovative solutions. In addition to my social care focussed work, I am a qualified Humanistic Counsellor and NLP Practitioner.

Since becoming an independent consultant and trainer some five years ago I have sought work with organisations whose ethos and values fit comfortably with my own; who recognise that the system of social and health care provision in the UK is flawed and who seek to challenge the status quo not through criticism but through engagement. I believe that individual people, rather than organisations and governments, make the most difference, and value any opportunity to facilitate change with individuals who can then influence the organisations and bodies that make policy.

I have worked extensively in Scotland with In Control Scotland, as an associate trainer for another organisation and independently and have a personal love of the country which gives the work I am fortunate enough to do north of the border even greater satisfaction for me.