Michael Mandelstam, author of How We Treat the Sick: Neglect and Abuse in our Health Services
This book wants reading for several reasons. It is a book from the heart and highly readable. It identifies straightforwardly, matter-of-factly and scathingly the mindless, blinkered and harmful bureaucracy which has infected and distorted the social and health care system. Yet, in the face of these identified evils, it cleaves to optimism and independence of thought throughout and a determination that things can, and must, change. It discusses systems and ideas, but is written by an author with a detailed practical knowledge of care and who uses, throughout the book, care settings to illustrate in depth the issues as played out in the real world. Above all, this book challenges managers to break out of the vicious circle within which they can all too easily become enmired and ultimately, to lead good care.
From the foreword by Debbie Sorkin, National Director of Systems Leadership, the Leadership Centre
If you want to step up to leadership, and to lead good care, this book will help you do just that. It's borne of long experience and a passionate belief in the difference good leadership can make. So if you want to transform people's lives, start here.
Philip Nightingale, Registered Social Care Manager
Leaving bureaucracy and compliance in its wake, John Burton takes the book's reader on a journey to leadership both as a role and as an aspiration... With sobering references to the health and social care scandals of Cornwall, Staffordshire and Winterbourne View, and more recently the Savile debacle, John exposes the myth that managers were principally to blame by showing how there are wider systemic failings that leave most managers believing that they are powerless to take a stand and simply doing as they are told... With compassion entering the social care vocabulary again, John's book is a timely inspiration for managers to return to humanity and core tasks with confidence and to lead their services to real and meaningful excellence.
John Burton is one of a very few qualified to make the statement cited above. Since 1965, he has had a distinguished career as a practitioner, manager, consultant, teacher, and trainer in residential child care. He is also a respected journalist, author and commentator on all aspects of 'care.'... Each chapter explores, discusses and illustrates an aspect of care... The author's ideas are imaginatively and effectively delivered and developed throughout the book by a series of stories from four different services, led by four different managers... At the end of each chapter the content is reinforced by suggestions for discussion, and, throughout the text - unusually in my experience - there are helpful illustrations and diagrams which actually look organic and have a connection to human endeavour... It should be read by leaders and managers, by students and teachers of leadership and managers, but most importantly by all practitioners in care settings who are interested in what is at the heart of care.
Graham McPheat, Senior Teaching Fellow, School of Social Work and Social Policy, University of StrathclydeScottish Journal of Residential Child Care
Leading Good Care: the task, heart and art of managing social care (2015) by John Burton is an interesting read and one that I enjoyed. It is by no means a typical textbook and many readers may enjoy it all the more for that fact... It will be impossible for anyone working in residential child care to read this text and not make connections of some sort with their own work setting and these themes. The book will most likely prove useful for those already in leadership and management positions... Indeed, this last group are as likely to be engaged with one of the recurring messages that runs throughout the book, the need to rally against systems and drivers, which pull us further from our core task - the provision of high quality care tailored to the needs of our clients. It is this message which most engaged me... In a climate of unremitting financial constraints and pressure to conform to regulation, underpinned by humanity and concentrates on the core task of providing quality care. If leaders and managers across the range services associated with residential child care read and take heed of these messages we will move closer to the 'good care' mentioned in the title.