Community Led Conversations
Adult social care is facing significant challenges with the likelihood of increased demand and expectation at a time of financial pressures, savings targets and reduced capacity in many areas.
Traditional ways of responding to demand for adult social care support are often ineffective for the person and local authority, as well as being very inefficient in terms of time and resources. Responding well to people and doing so in a way that is based on shared responsibility and empowerment will require a fresh and potentially radical approach based on strong collaboration and coproduction at a local level.
The NDTi Community Led Conversations programme supports the development of a model that is fit for purpose, proportionate and responsive, focusing on maximising the person’s independence and resilience. It involves a small number of Local Authorities remodeling the way they work at the ‘front end’ in order to effectively manage demand and capacity across the whole service. This is not about redesigning pathways to produce complicated process maps and Gantt charts that only add to bureaucracy and confusion. It is about changing the approach and the culture of how practitioners work and organisations work together with the communities they serve. It involves a much more outward facing presence for community teams and emphasises the role of good conversations, managing public expectations of ‘social services’ and redefining the local ‘offer’ in partnership with voluntary organisations and community groups. It is about collaboration at a local level to pool resources and redesign an approach based on common sense, responding quickly and appropriately and genuinely promoting independence and resilience – at both a community and an individual level.
Although each area will be unique and have its own strengths and challenges, this programme of support is based on a model that has already been shown to work in Shropshire, where it has resulted in:
- A much more effective, proportionate and person centred response to people needing support
- High levels of satisfaction reported by people experiencing the service
- Much greater efficiency in the use of staff time, skills and expertise
- A reduction in residential and nursing home admissions and increase in people supported to stay at home for longer
- Increased partnerships at a local level with health, housing and the voluntary sector to provide a much more holistic and joined up response
- A significant reduction in bureaucracy and waiting times
Shropshire Council will be the first to admit that their model isn’t perfect, but it does appear to have a number of ingredients that seem to be a vital part of the solution, resulting in significant improvements. The Council, along with its delivery partner, People2People, will share their learning as part of this programme – including front line staff, managers, back office staff and local people and partners.