About Rosie Harding

Prof Rosie Harding is Professor of Law and Society at the University of Birmingham. Rosie studied for an LLB at the University of Edinburgh, an LLM at Keele University and a PhD at the University of Kent. She was PI on the AHRC-funded phase of the ReValuing Care Network. Her research explores the place of law in everyday life with a particular focus on the recognition and regulation of caring and intimate relationships. Her broader research interests are in family law, healthcare law, disability law and gender, sexuality and law. She is the author of Duties to Care: Dementia, Relationality and Law (2017, Cambridge University Press) and Regulating Sexuality (2011, Routledge winner of the 2011 Hart-SLSA Book Prize and Early Career Prizes), and editor of ReValuing Care in Theory, Law and Policy: Cycles and Connections (2017, Routledge, with Ruth Fletcher & Chris Beasley), Law and Sexuality (2016, Routledge Critical Concepts in Law), and Ageing and Sexualities: Interdisciplinary Perspectives (2016, Ashgate; 2016, Routledge, with Elizabeth Peel). Rosie is a 2016/17 British Academy Mid-Career Fellow, working on ‘Everyday Decisions: Interrogating the interface between mental capacity and legal capacity’.  She founded and co-ordinated CentreLGS PECANS (http://www.clgs-pecans.org.uk/), from 2004-2011. PECANS is an international and interdisciplinary network of early career scholars working in the law, gender and sexuality field. PECANS was funded by the AHRC CentreLGS from 2004-2009, and the ESRC from 2009-2011.

Telephone :-+44 (0) 121 414 4960

Now Published: ReValuing Care Edited Collection

We are delighted to announce the publication of our edited collection, ReValuing Care in Theory, Law and Policy: Cycles and Connections, edited by Rosie Harding, Ruth Fletcher and Chris Beasley. This collection is the main academic outcome of the AHRC-funded ReValuing Care Network. The network, that was funded from 2012-2014 facilitated the development of new interdisciplinary connections between academics from across the social sciences and humanities with interests in legal and political responses to the challenges of care.

Over the next few weeks, we will be posting blogs from some of the collection’s contributors, outlining the main arguments in their chapters. In the meantime, the introductory chapter is available to view for free on the Routledge website:
https://www.routledge.com/ReValuing-Care-in-Theory-Law-and-Policy-Cycles-and-Connections/Harding-Fletcher-Beasley/p/book/9781138943193

Book Cover for ReValuing Care in Theory, Law and Policy

ReValuing Care in Theory, Law and Policy: Cycles and Connections

Care is central to life, and yet is all too often undervalued, taken for granted, and hidden from view. This collection of fourteen substantive and highly innovative essays, along with its insightful introduction, seeks to explore the different dimensions of care that shape social, legal and political contexts. It addresses these dimensions in four key ways. First, the contributions expand contemporary theoretical understandings of the value of care, by reflecting upon established conceptual approaches (such as the ‘ethics of care’) and developing new ways of using and understanding this concept. Second, the chapters draw on a wide range of methods, from doctrinal scholarship through ethnographic, empirical and biographical research methodologies. Third, the book enlarges the usual subjects of care research, by expanding its analysis beyond the more typical focus on familial interconnection to include professional care contexts, care by strangers and care for and about animals. Finally, the collection draws on contributions from academics working in Europe and Australia, across law, anthropology, gender studies, politics, psychology and sociology. By highlighting the points of connection and tension between these diverse international and disciplinary perspectives, this book outlines a new and nuanced approach to care, exploring contemporary understandings of care across law, the social sciences and humanities.

 

ReValuing Care Through Law: Challenging the Bedroom Tax and Benefit Cap on Care

Professor Rosie Harding
Birmingham Law School | email: r.j.harding@bham.ac.uk

It has been an interesting week for news about care giving and receiving in English Law. Two stories have made the news that reflect challenges to the value placed on care in our society: first, the Government’s announcement that recipients of Carers Allowance are to be exempted from the benefit cap; second, news about the Court of Appeal’s decision that the ‘bedroom tax’ (or, as the Government would prefer it to be called, the ‘Removal of Spare Room Subsidy’) is unlawfully discriminatory on grounds of disability and sex.

The news that carers in receipt of Carers Allowance are to be exempt from the Benefit Cap came during debate on an amendment to the Welfare Reform and Work Bill on 25 January 2016. Lest anyone be deceived into thinking that the current Conservative Government is suddenly going soft on benefit recipients, it is important to remember that the impetus for this change came from a judicial review decision of the High Court in October 2015. In Hurley & Others v Secretary of State for Work and Pensions [2015] EWHC 3382 (Admin), Mr Justice Collins held that the benefit cap regulations, whilst not unlawful in their entirety (considering the very high standard of unreasonableness that is required at judicial review) were nonetheless indirectly discriminatory on the basis of disability in a way that was not objectively justifiable. A government amendment is expected during the forthcoming House of Lords Third Reading debate that fully exempts those in receipt of Carers Allowance from the benefit cap. The change will bring those in receipt of carers allowance into line with others exempted from the cap.

The Court of Appeal decision in R (On the Application Of Rutherford & Ors) v Secretary of State for Work & Pensions [2016] EWCA Civ 29 has not met with the same level of agreement from the Government. In that case, the Court of Appeal found that the ‘bedroom tax’ regulations were unjustifiably discriminatory on the grounds of disability (in the case of the grandparents of a severely disabled teenager), and on the grounds of sex (in the case of a woman at serious risk of violence from an abusive ex-partner). In both of these cases, the claimants had been in receipt of Discretionary Housing Payments (DHPs) to mitigate the effects of their deduction under the bedroom tax rules. Importantly, others in similar positions may not be in receipt of DHPs, as the nature of the scheme, and the discretionary basis of it, means that provision varies across local authorities.

Since this decision, the Government has announced its intention to appeal to the Supreme Court, and a hearing on this case is to be joined with the appeal in R (MA and others) v the Secretary of State for Work & Pensions [2014] EWCA Civ 13, another case concerning the discriminatory nature of the ‘bedroom tax’ which is due to be heard by the Supreme Court in early March 2016. In the meantime, the Government have issued a bulletin to staff responsible for Housing benefit advising that “no action needs to be taken by local authorities following this judgment.” [1]

Leaving aside the legal issues that will be considered by the Supreme Court in a few weeks’ time, the news this week about regulating care and caring raises more general issues of interest. It reminds us of the necessity of a strong system of judicial review, with access to legal aid to support vulnerable claimants. While some of the more negative aspects of changes to the legal aid system for judicial review were undone following a challenge by solicitors, the policy of ‘no permission, no fee’ remains in place. The former Justice Minister, Chris Grayling was open about his desire to curb judicial review, which he berated “left-wing campaigners” for using as a “promotional tool” and to “to try to disrupt Government policies.” [2]

Given the rise in the use (and attempted use) of statutory instruments (which can be passed without democratic debate) rather than Acts of Parliament (which require full Parliamentary debate and the approval of both Houses) for controversial issues like tax credit cuts, or fox hunting, since the Conservatives came to power in 2010,[3] any attempts to restrict judicial review need to be taken very seriously indeed.

These cases also remind us of the importance of the Human Rights Act 1998 in defending the most vulnerable in our society. Both of these cases concerned challenges to the legislation on the basis of discrimination outlawed by Article 14 of the European Convention on Human Rights. In both cases it was the fundamental human right not to be discriminated against on the basis of a protected characteristic that was the reason for the decision (in these cases it was disability and sex) .

This Government wants to repeal our Human Rights Act. We still await the detail on proposals on a Bill of Rights which we have been told might be fast tracked into law by this summer [4]. These cases where Convention Rights safeguard the rights of vulnerable people with disabilities, their carers, and other whom the State has an obligation to protect from violence and harm remind us of the value of our Human Rights Act, and the high cost that repeal of it could place on vulnerable people.

I look forward to seeing the exemption from the benefit cap for carers come into law without delay. I also await the Supreme Court’s decision in the forthcoming appeal on the bedroom tax cases with interest. We must not, however, be complacent. The law’s ability to ensure that an appropriate value is placed on caring is dependent both on fair access to judicial review, and on the effective domestic protection of our Human Rights. We must safeguard both.

[1] From HB-U1-2006, downloaded from http://www.disabilityrightsuk.org/news/2016/january/bedroom-tax-no-change-dwp-appeals-court-case-and-issues-guidance.
[2] http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2413135/CHRIS-GRAYLING-Judicial-review-promotional-tool-Left-wing-campaigners.html
[3] http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/government-accused-of-waging-war-on-parliament-by-forcing-through-key-legal-changes-without-debate-a6820176.html
[4] http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/british-bill-of-rights-to-be-fast-tracked-into-law-by-next-summer-a6698261.html

What’s Wrong With Best Interests?

For the last while, I (along with many others working in this area)[1] have been struggling with the question of how to reconcile the Mental Capacity Act 2005 (MCA), with Article 12 of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disability (CRPD). As many readers of this blog will know, section 1(5) of the MCA requires that any decision made for or on behalf of a person who lacks capacity needs to be made in their ‘best interests’. In contrast, Article 12 CRPD requires that disabled people’s rights to equal treatment under the law are respected. This right includes the right to “enjoy legal capacity on an equal basis with others in all aspects of life” (Article 12(2)). In their clarificatory General Comment No 1 on the scope and interpretation of Article 12, the Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities made clear that “The ‘best interests’ principle is not a safeguard which complies with article 12 in relation to adults” (paragraph 21).

Given the centrality of best interests decision making in contemporary English mental capacity law[2], we need to give serious consideration to how these two, seemingly opposing, positions can be reconciled. In order to get to that point, it will be helpful to think through the critiques of best interests.  Five substantive critiques of best interests have been put forward in the academic literature on this topic. Firstly, best interests decision making can be “vague, uncertain and unpredictable.”[3]  Because of this, it is very difficult to predict what the outcome of a best interests determination will be. There is usually no single, logical, best outcome in the difficult cases where best interests are to be addressed. Courts, healthcare professionals, social workers and carers instead select from any number of possible outcomes.

Best interests decision making is often paternalistic, and imbued with the beliefs and values of the decision-maker, rather than those of the person who is at the centre of the decision.[4]  A third critique of best interests, originally put forward in the context of family law,[5]  is that it may be incompatible with Article 8 rights to respect for private life, family life and home. This may become especially troublesome when considering things like residential placements,[6] whether or not these amount to a Deprivation of Liberty under the legislation (another big issue in contemporary mental capacity law).

The CommitteeRPD raise two further issues with best interests decision making. They argue that ‘best interests’ denies legal capacity on the basis of disability. This can take three forms, where legal capacity is denied because of: the status of the individual as having a particular diagnosis or impairment; the outcome of a particular decision is perceived to have negative consequences; or on functional grounds the person is not considered capable of making a decision. This functional approach is very close to the MCA understanding of capacity. Under the MCA, whenever a person is determined to lack capacity under the functional test set out in section 3, another person makes the decision instead, taking into consideration the views of that person, their family carers and the professionals involved in their care. The CommitteeRPD’s criticism of the functional approach is enlightening:

“This approach is flawed for two key reasons: (a) it is discriminatorily applied to people with disabilities; and (b) it presumes to be able to accurately assess the inner-workings of the human mind and, when the person does not pass the assessment, it then denies him or her a core human right — the right to equal recognition before the law. In all of those approaches, a person’s disability and/or decision making skills are taken as legitimate grounds for denying his or her legal capacity and lowering his or her status as a person before the law.”  (Committee RPD, General Comment no 1, para 15)

A final critique of best interests is that it substitutes someone else’s decision (whether a health care professional, a judge, a social worker, a carer, or a family member) for that of the person with a cognitive impairment. Article 12 of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, by contrast, requires that people are supported to make their own decisions. Only when all practicable means to support the person to make their own decision have been exhausted would a decision be made on their behalf, in accordance with the best interpretation of their will and preferences, following Article 12(4).

Could this mean the end of best interests in our mental capacity law? Perhaps. If we take these criticisms of best interests seriously, it may well be that we need to re-think best interests under the MCA to ensure our compliance with the rights of persons with disabilities under the CRPD. There appears to be little appetite for a change to the language of best interests under the MCA. Instead, the focus of the House of Lords Select Committee was on better implementation of the empowering ethos of the legislation. But a key problem, as I see it, with the implementation of the MCA is the way that MCA best interests are routinely conflated with clinical understandings of ‘best interests’ despite the different normative content of the two approaches. As a result, it seems clear that we do need to find a new lexicon for decision making by, with and for people with intellectual disabilities, one that doesn’t rely on the words ‘best interests’, to ensure that supported decision making is the reality in all but the most difficult of cases. And when a person truly can’t make a decision for themselves, it must be their own preferences and values that guide the decisions made on their behalf. The task ahead is to find that lexicon, and to use it to build a new approach to empowering individuals with intellectual disabilities to shape their lives according to their own values, wishes and preferences.

[1] Flynn E & Arstein-Kerslake A ‘Legislating personhood: realising the right to support in exercising legal capacity’ (2014) 10 International Journal of Law in Context 81; Richardson, G ‘Mental Disabilities and the Law: From substituted to supported decision-making?’ (2012) 65 Current Legal Problems 333; House of Lords Select Committee on the Mental Capacity Act (2014) Mental Capacity Act 2005: Post-Legislative Scrutiny (London: TSO).
[2] Donnelly, M (2009) ‘Best Interests, Patient Participation and the Mental Capacity Act 2005’ Medical law Review 17: 1-19.
[3] Choudhury, S (2008) ‘Best Interest in the MCA 2005 – What can Healthcare Law Learn from Family Law?’ Health Care Analysis 16: 240-251.
[4] Fennell, P (2008) ‘Best Interests and Treatment for Mental Disorder’ Health Care Analysis 16: 255-267.
[5] Eekelaar, J (2002) ‘Beyond the welfare principle’ Child and Family Law Quarterly 11: 387.
[6] Harding, R (2012) ‘Legal Constructions of Dementia: Discourses of autonomy at the margins of capacity’ Journal of Social Welfare and Family Law 34(4): 425-442.

ReValuing Care in 2013

A wordle of the ReValuing Care Blog 2013

ReValuing Care in 2013

As we approach the end of 2013, the time is ripe for a brief look back over the activities of the ReValuing Care research network in the last 12 months, and a peek forwards into ReValuing Care activities for 2014.

I’ll begin with a heart-felt “thank you”. To all of you – who have written for the blog, read contributions to this blog, shared those contributions on twitter, facebook and other social media. Since the launch of our regular blog series in June of this year, there have been nearly 50 blog contributions from members of the network. The website visitor numbers have increased from just 120 in January, to over 2,000 unique visitors in November. The ‘wordle’ image on this page provides an overview of the topics that have been covered. Of course, we’ve been talking about ‘care’; but we’ve also seen posts on topics as diverse as dementia, gender identity, soup kitchens, parenting, childlessness, sexuality and ageing (to name but a few). Care has been explored in its personal, practical, and conceptual senses. Blog contributors have explored the challenges and possibilities of care, and the multifaceted ways that research into and about care can lead to the (re)valuing of all forms of care. The international nature of our network has been demonstrated by the diverse locations of care research that have been shared: we’ve had contributions from the UK, the Republic of Ireland, India, Kenya, the US, Italy, and Australia. Creating a network is a very difficult thing to do. It takes time, energy, thought. It takes care. We all have to care about the potential and possibilities that arise from being in touch with others who care about care.

The way this blog has developed over the last six months, demonstrates the vitality and diversity of research about care. The challenge we face for the future is how to keep our conversations going; how to make the most of the network that we have created. Our AHRC grant, which funds the current phase of the ReValuing Care research network ends in the next few months. It would be all too easy for our network to spit, and fade and fizzle out when the money runs out. For the network to continue to develop, and for the conversations to continue beyond that time, we need to think creatively about how to take things forward. I have some ideas, and I’m sure you all do too.

To keep this network going, to build on the work that we’ve done, we need to nurture it, feed it and let it grow. We need to take care of it.

How? We could hold another ReValuing Care workshop (does anyone want to host?). We could reach out more to sectors beyond academia through other types of events (do you have ideas?). We could consolidate our academic contributions so far through an edited collection. We could apply for further funding to take forward additional questions and ideas. We could encourage our colleagues and contacts to get involved (from PhD students to professors, policy makers to activists, it doesn’t matter who you are, so long as you are interested in care). Perhaps the easiest thing of all to do is to keep up this blog. When we see a news story about care that makes us feel (in many ways it doesn’t matter which emotion sparks us off: angry, confused, impressed, concerned, happy…) we should write about it.  There are so many things we can do. I hope that we do at least some of them.

I’ll end with the caring equivalent of a call to arms (maybe a call to alms?): 2013 has seen the ReValuing Care research network develop into a community of scholars from across the globe. I very much hope that 2014 has even more in store for us. For this to happen, we need you to join in. I hope you will.

New Publication on Dementia Carers’ experiences of ‘the system’

maze

Carers of people living with dementia find ‘the system’ of dementia support to be a maze.

A new research article by Elizabeth Peel and Rosie Harding has been published ‘online first’ in Dementia: The International Journal of Social Research and Practice. ‘“It’s a huge maze, the system, it’s a terrible maze”: Dementia carers’ constructions of navigating health and social care services’ explores data from both the ‘Duties to Care’ and ‘Dementia Talking’ dementia projects to highlight the experiences of familial carers of people living with dementia in navigating the complex health and social care systems that provide support for people living with dementia.

Abstract: Dementia is a challenging, progressive set of conditions which present a large care burden to informal, familial carers. A complex array of health and social care services are needed to support people living with dementia. Drawing on the interlinked ‘Duties to Care’ and ‘Dementia Talking’ projects, in this article we focus on British carers’ talk about health and social care services. We explore data from a mixed-method questionnaire (n = 185), four focus groups and eleven interviews with informal carers of people living with dementia using thematic discourse analysis. Three themes are discussed: (1) services as a ‘maze’; (2) services as overly limited – ‘beyond our remit’; and (3) the battle and fighting discourse deployed by these carers. Our analysis highlights that carers find navigating systemic issues in dementia care time-consuming, unpredictable and often more difficult than the caring work they undertake.

For more information, please contact either Professor Elizabeth Peel (e.peel@worc.ac.uk) or Dr Rosie Harding (r.j.harding@bham.ac.uk). The article can be accessed on the Dementia journal website or by contacting us.

House of Lords Select Committee on the Mental Capacity Act 2005

The House of Lords has established a Select Committee on the Mental Capacity Act 2005 (MCA). The terms of reference for the committee are to “consider and report on the Mental Capacity Act 2005”.The Committee has been taking oral evidence,  and has also published a call for written evidence submissions. For more details on the committee, and the questions that are being asked in the call, see the Parliament website. The deadline for responses is 2 September 2013, during our next ReValuing Care workshop ‘Caring about Social Interconnection‘ in Adelaide. As such, we will aim to have a final version of our response completed before the end of August.

As an interdisciplinary and multi-sector network of academics, activists, carers and third sector professionals with interests in care, the ReValuing Care Network is well placed to put together a response to this call for evidence. I will coordinate a response to the questions asked by the committee, and have set up a few discussions on the private network members forum to facilitate this. All network members are warmly invited to contribute to the response, and any other interested parties are warmly invited to join the network. To join us, simply fill in the form.

The Call for Evidence covers all aspects of the operation of the MCA, including the overall context, implementation, decision-making, Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DoLS), the Court of Protection and the Office of the Public Guardian, regulation and the interface with other legislative provisions, as well as devolution and international issues, including compliance with the UN Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities.

Please do get involved and join in the discussions on the forum. Between the network members, we have an unrivalled breadth of knowledge and experience of the regulation of care. By responding to this call for evidence we can attempt to have an impact on the lives of those giving and receiving care who are affected by the MCA 2005.

Rosie Harding, July 2013

Antipsychotic medications in dementia – time to think again about regulation?

Along with my colleague, Elizabeth Peel, I was invited to write a post for the OUP Blog highlighting the arguments in a paper of ours that was recently published in the Medical Law Review. The blog post draws out several of the arguments from our paper (which is open access for a short period: download it now!), and yet no-one seems to have taken much notice. When we were invited to write for the blog, we were told that the blog has 8,000 subscribers and has over 40,000 visits every month. So why would a contribution on this important issue not make much of a splash?
There could be all sorts of reasons – perhaps it’s not quite on the zeitgeist of where the media focus is on caring for people living with dementia; perhaps the argument in the paper is too ‘legal’ and so not quite amenable to media interest in the blogosphere; perhaps the recently reported reduction in antipsychotic prescribing makes everyone think this is a non-issue; or perhaps until there are other ways to ‘treat’ ‘challenging behaviour’ in dementia, nobody is interested in the limitations of the current methods. It’s hard to tell. Certainly any and all of these might be contributory factors. But I think this is an important issue, and one that it’s worth shouting about, so I’m going to try again here!
In the article ‘He was like a Zombie’: Off-label prescription of antipsychotic drugs in dementia’, we argue that most antipsychotic drugs:

  • are not tested for use in elderly people with dementia;
  • are not licensed for use in elderly people with dementia;
  • have serious side effects including stroke and death when prescribed to elderly people with dementia
  • should be better regulated

We also highlight that in our empirical research, carers of people with dementia report a range of other harms associated with the use of this class of drugs to treat behavioural symptoms in the people they care for. In the paper, we explore the potential for legal redress for these harms and find that there is little or no chance of legal claims being successful.
As we think again about how people who can’t stand up for themselves are vulnerable to abuse at the hands of the professionals responsible for their care (for example the Winterbourne View scandal), we need to think again about all sides of the interface between care, law and regulation. The current regulatory frameworks offer little comfort to those who are harmed by ‘care’ that is not criminally abusive. So as well as thinking again about how we regulate social care, I think the antipsychotics issue demonstrates why we might also need to think again about health care and those who can’t consent to treatment. Without going into the intricacies of medical negligence, people with dementia harmed by the prescription of antipsychotic drugs to treat behavioural symptoms currently have no chance of compensation or access to justice even though it is widely known that they can be harmful. I think it is time this changed. What do you think?

Who should take responsibility for care?

A nw scheme to train a million people as ‘dementia friends’ has been announced by the Prime Minister, David Cameron, as part of the next stage of his Prime Minister’s challenge on Dementia. The scheme will be run by the Alzheimer’s Society, who are inviting interested individuals to register their interest on the dementia friends website.

Dementia Friends Logo

www.dementiafriends.org.uk

Dementia friends will be trained to help people with dementia feel understood and included in their community. The aim of the scheme is to “make everyday life better for people with dementia by changing the way the nation thinks, talks and acts.” £2.4 million has been put forward from the Social Fund and the Department of Health to fund this initiative.

There is much to commend about this scheme. If successful, it could not only help to raise awareness of the challenges faced by people living with dementia, but could also lead to positive steps in the direction of creating ‘dementia-friendly’ communities. Making local communities more dementia friendly could help people living with dementia to live more independently for longer. This scheme also helps to recognise the importance of people other than immediate family and friends in supporting and caring for a person living with dementia. All too often, caring for a person with dementia can be an isolating experience, where familial carers slowly lose their own support networks because others don’t understand the challenges that dementia presents.

It seems to me that there is also an important ideological shift associated with making caring for people living with dementia a priority for communities, rather than individuals and private families. In an ideal world, moving towards collective responsibility for care might help to off-set some of the individual costs of caring, provided the scheme offers real help and support to people living with dementia. On the other hand, we must also be alert to the possibilities that rather than increasing (state-funded) support for people living with dementia and those who care for them, initiatives that push the emphasis onto communities to support each other are also tied to the aim of reducing the financial responsibility of the state for these sorts of services.

All too often in the dementia care sector, there are excellent services for some, and limited or no services available to others depending on where they live. In my recent research into dementia carer’s experiences (see www.dementiaproject.net), many familial carers found it extremely difficult  to navigate the complex ‘maze’ of services and service providers. Let’s hope that this is a project that, if successful, will continue to be financially supported through public funds to ensure parity of access, rather than relying on charitable support that can be geographically variable.

Welcome to the ReValuing Care Network Blog

The ReValuing Care Network is a research network funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC). The key aim of the network is to create open spaces (both physical and virtual) to facilitate discussion and dialogue about how we think about care. The ReValuing Care Network aims to bring together academics, activists and advocates with an interest in ‘care’ in its many forms and locations. We are committed to creating opportunities for open dialogue between academics and activists, advocates and others working in the third sector to improve the way that care is understood and valued in our society.

This website is a key aspect of the way that the network can develop, and if you are here, and interested, then we invite you to join the network so that you can take part in all of the discussions. Information about network members is displayed on your member profile on the site. To join, all you need to do is fill in the membership form, and you will have full access to all areas of the site.

On the website, we have a discussion forum, where members can discuss their work, their ideas, continue conversations started at physical events and so on. The forum is private, so you have to be a member and logged in to see it.

We also have this Blog. The ReValuing Care Blog is an open publishing space where any network member (whether you are an academic, activist, advocate, health or social care professional or whatever!) can post relevant news, views, links, events, or anything else that you can fit into a Blog post. All members will be given Blog author rights, so you will be able to post your contributions yourself. The ReValuing Care Project Team will act as editors of the blog, so if you don’t see your post go up straight away, it will be because one of use has to approve it. The reason for having this human intervention is primarily to prevent spam on the blog. Unlike the forum, the Blog is a public webpage, and so anyone surfing the web can see your posts, though only network members can also comment on blog posts.

What are you waiting for? Join us today, and get sharing!