England & Wales

Civil Society Innovation Network: event 1, part 1


Civil Society Innovation Network logoThis is the first blog of three on the first event of our new Civil Society Innovation Network. Part 2 will focus on the Ministerial address by Andrew Stunell MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State. 

The first session of the Civil Society Learning Network took place on 1 December 2011 and looked at transforming local authority services. The Network heard from Andrew Stunell MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State, Lord Victor Adebowale and Gemma Bruce from Turning Point, and Andrew Elkington, Head of Policy, Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead.

In this first session, we explored issues around organisational change, finance models and capacity building, in addition to hearing from Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead on the work that they have been doing as one of the Big Society Vanguards.

Turning Point and the Connected Care model

Turning Point, a health and social care organisation, is a provider of specialist and integrated services that meet the needs of individuals, families and communities. Turning Point are special; they have a record of finding innovative ways of delivering services to maximise effectiveness and reach as many people as possible. They are clear that by tailoring services, they create individual ways to support our service users to face their personal challenges.

Of particular interest to the Network was Turning Point’s Connected Care model – a model of community led commissioning which involves communities in the design and delivery of services. Importantly, this model delivers integrated, co-produced neighbourhood services.

Their model uses local people, with knowledge of their communities to understand community needs and priorities. These are people who have community reach, credibility and commitment to their communities – many of these people also have experience of using services.

The result of this approach is that communities, commissioners and providers tackle entrenched social problems together in a radically different way of working which transfers power to the community.

The three videos below give snapshots from key parts of their presentation:

Lord Adebowale was clear that:

    • Elected members are critically important to the success of the Turning Point process; when they go into an area it can be disruptive and the process results in change. Elected members and local authorities have a key role in creating the right environment for this to work, from the start.
    • Rules can stifle, but they can also empower; local authorities have the power to say ‘yes’ to what the community wants.
    • With a democratic mandate, local authorities can challenge structures in heath and social care that mitigate against doing good work.
    • Frontline staff are often reenergised by a return to service redesign and doing things differently.

It is clear that the Connected Care approach provides a means to redesign services with the needs of communities at the heart – by involving communities themselves in coproducing neighbourhood services. Local authorities can completely transform health and social care services with this approach in a way that integrates services and puts the needs of individuals first.

However, transforming services using this approach is not without challenges. Change can be disruptive, therefore a key learning point is that local authorities and elected members have to support the process and create the right environment for change to take place. Similarly, and as Lord Adebowale noted in his presentation, by putting the customer first, and transforming services around their needs, this may result in staff changes, which may not always be an easy process.

Despite this, the Connected Care model is clearly having an impact in the areas where they have worked, including:

    • 200 community researchers recruited and trained
    • Engaging a total population size 150,000
    • More than half have of the researchers have gone into new education, employment or training opportunities
    • New community-led social enterprises established in Bolton and Hartlepool
    • New social capital – e.g. one community researcher has gone on to set up his own local charity promoting mental well-being through art
    • Locally developed models of integration e.g. new integrated teams, staff working across silos, single access points for services

The most compelling point however, is that this model gives better use of resources. In a cost benefit analysis undertaken by the LSE, they estimate that for every £1 invested in the service this will result in a return of £4 saving to the public purse.

You can download a copy of the powerpoint presentation here – or view it below. For more information on Turning Point, please visit their website.

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