Peter Limbrick writes: TAC is horizontal because it is always a small team of equals. This is true whether it is a parent, child-minder, therapist and social worker around a disabled infant (Team Around the Child) or relative, neighbour and nurse around a frail elderly person in hospital (Team Around the Citizen).
Older children will be part of their TACs and frail elderly people will be part of theirs to the fullest extent possible. Horizontality means each person in the TAC treating the others with honesty and respect. Everyone is listened to and everyone has an equal voice.
Thoughts and observations are shared, all aspects of the person's condition, situation and needs are acknowledged, and then a plan of action is agreed. TAC provides for horizontal discussions between equals.
TAC is about people having power with others. This is an antidote to the common attitude in public services in which some people strive for power over others. The person in need is empowered by being properly listened to in a small team of genuinely concerned people.
TAC members become powerful with each other in planning how a person in need is supported. When a teenager coming out of care or a depressed parent with a disabled young adult son/daughter or a young carer has a TAC to advocate for her or him then they are no longer alone in their situation and liable to being over looked, fobbed off or badly treated.
TAC becomes a partial antidote to austerity. More and more vulnerable people are being allowed to slip through the safety net of public services. Once the caring net of health or social services has failed to catch them they can be alone, out of public view and left to sink or swim by their own devices.
Any relative, friend, neighbour or professional trying to help a vulnerable person in this situation will be more effective and more powerful in a TAC. TAC means a few concerned people joining together into a collective and horizontally organised effort in support of a vulnerable child, adult or elderly person.
In deepening austerity in UK and Europe there is the stark choice of abandoning vulnerable people to their fate or of people deciding to become powerful with others to get vulnerable people of any age the best support possible.
TACs provides necessary practical support to the vulnerable person and can also advocate for them with public services to get the best possible health and social service support. People who know how to shout up always get the best from public services. TACs do it well!
See: Horizontal Teamwork in a Vertical World: Exploring interagency collaboration and people empowerment, by Peter Limbrick –