Remembering Ian

There was a guy who was Managing Director of HBOS Corporate Banking and he got out in June 2007 just before the big collapse. Reading this you may think he was a typical banker, making his fortune and leaving us to bail out the banks.

Ian Robertson

Ian Robertson

This fits the current stereotype we have of bankers. Bankers are bad costing us billions; carers are good saving us billons.

But Ian Robertson was different. He retired from HBOS after 30 years service and became a hugely dedicated Chairman of The Princess Royal Trust for Carers at a time when we as an organisations faced many problems.

Rather than devoting hours every day to The Trust as he did, he could have made money as a company director or spent more time with his wife and four children, two of whom are young. But he didn’t, because he wasn’t a stereotypical banker. And indeed, he wasn’t a stereotypical carer either. Stereotypes, while being useful labels can also be misleading.

Identifying somebody as a carer is important, but we cannot restrict our view of their whole person to them simply being a carer. If we only see them as a carer, we begin only to think of their needs solely in relation to their caring role.

And this is wrong, carers are individuals with the same hopes and dreams that everybody has. We should not just be asking carers what can we do to support them as carers, we should be asking what we can do to support them as individuals whose choices may be limited by their caring role. Do they want to work? Do they want to attend training or college? What sports or leisure activities did they enjoy before they started caring? Having the choice to do these things is crucial to the wellbeing of everybody, including carers. Yet, at the moment, we see many people with caring roles  denied these choices.

I have argued that greater investment in carers would produce savings in the health and social care system. This views carers as a resource to be invested in. Whilst, I still believe we need to make such arguments, carers are not a resource to be used – they are people in their own right.

Ian wasn’t a stereotype; he was a person. I am sorry to say that he passed away on Monday. Ian was a man I had much respect for and I dearly hope his family are ok.

And yet despite everything he did to make sure families got support, Ian  didn’t always get everything right as Chairman – after all it was his idea that I should write a blog.



September 2, 2010 - Posted by | Social Care, Uncategorized | , ,


  1. RIP Ian

    Comment by Wendy Chill4us | September 2, 2010 | Reply

  2. On the contrary: your blog was obviously one of his good ideas! I was very sad to hear of Ian’s death – he seemed to be a thoroughly good man and his sensible and pragmatic leadership was definitely an influencing factor in my firm’s decision to support the Trust.

    Comment by exilednzer | September 2, 2010 | Reply

  3. Thank you for posting this important and moving reflection on such a very warm and caring non-stereotypical man. It sounds as though he has very large boots to fill in many ways. I wish his family much love at this very difficult time.

    Comment by Jill Pay | September 2, 2010 | Reply

  4. Thank you for telling us about Ian, Gordon. It was a thought provoking blog. No we are none of us stereo-typical, we are individuals.

    I am sorry to hear of Ian’s death and send my symphathies to his Family and to you, as his friend and colleague in the Trust.
    Anne Yavary

    Comment by Anne Yavary | September 2, 2010 | Reply

  5. I’ve no doubt we won’t hold it against Ian Roberston for having the blog idea, Gordon. We all make mistakes…

    More seriously, as you say, we’re none of us stereotypical and one of the difficulties we have as carers and as professionals in the field is trying to convey the broad range of what carers are and what carers do – and therefore the even broader range of support that carers need…

    One particular task we have at present is to put a stop to what appears to be the prevailing stereotype of carers as benefits scroungers. It’s going to be a long haul.

    Comment by charles47 | September 3, 2010 | Reply

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