Change that leads to better lives

Paper 1: CLS Evidence & Learning Briefings 2020

Programme findings and lessons about what makes Community Led Support work well for people and places across the UK

Cls papers 1 01

This paper is the first in a series of six briefings produced by the CLS Evidence & Learning Team, to share findings and lessons from the second major round up of data, stories, evaluation findings and programme lessons exploring the impacts of community led support across the UK.

This paper shares the overarching findings and lessons about CLS drawn from an analysis of all data sources across CLS partners (sites) who joined the programme between 2014-15 and 2018-19. The experiences of newer members who have joined since this period will be reflected in our third Evidence & Learning round up due in 2023.

The paper highlights five key messages which are drawn from our analysis of evidence from across the Programme.

1. CLS is in a very different place to our last evidence round up. The first Evaluation Report covered 11 sites in total. CLS is now a Programme of 27 diverse areas across Scotland, England and Wales as figure 2 illustrates. One noticeable feature that stands out from examining diverse sources of data from these sites is the emphasis on seeing CLS as a central element of a place-based approach to the transformation of public services which goes way beyond changing adult social care services to focus on people and places.

2. We are seeing some significant, sustained changes for local people, staff, services and the system of health and social care, including:

  • Smoother, holistic and person-centred support, stemming from humane conversations about what matters to people, their strengths and the different kinds of relationships that develop as a result.
  • A different profile and nature of support commissioned and provided for local people, with less dependency on formal, traditional approaches. The emerging profile is creative, very local, responsive and diverse.
  • As a consequence, a far broader range and diversity of people are now experiencing CLS, beyond the early focus on older people and people with a learning disability shared in our first evaluation report.
  • Doing things differently and being in a position to make timely decisions that enable people to get the support they need is having a positive impact on those making change happen and delivering local services. This includes those working in social care services, community organisations and the NHS.
  • There are promising signs and evidence of sustained change in a small number of places that collect the right kind of data, in particular that CLS delivers better outcomes for the same or less resource. If every place adopting CLS collected and interrogated the right kinds of data, we feel confident that more places would be able to demonstrate this finding across the Programme.

3. Context is everything – CLS depends on knowing what works and doesn’t work in each place, who the local players are across the system, and how best to work with them. This is what matters most for making change happen, anchoring the positive changes and sustaining what works.

4. The right kind of leadership, at all levels and across the system, remains vitally important. Understanding and paying equal attention to behaviour and culture change as well as the systemic and structural changes demanded through CLS is crucial. In a growing number of places CLS has become embedded to the extent it is not clearly distinguishable; it has become the day job, not a change programme. This is down to the dispersed leadership that embodies brave, bold and liberated decision making in and across all teams working to deliver public services with and for local communities.

5. Embracing evidence and using learning from insights and data is important in fostering a culture of learning and strategic thinking which is central to the success of CLS. It follows then, that the right kinds of data need to be recorded, collected, analysed and used to understand impact, inform ongoing developments and sustain what works.

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National Development Team for Inclusion
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