WRITTEN ON June 24th, 2010 BY ruthkennedy AND STORED IN Across the Board, Design: Co-creation, Design: user-oriented, Foundation of Trust, What do we want?

Following on from Will’s post below, I’m pleased to say that in places (albeit all rather far from the Westminster media hub) people ARE using the burning platform of the current economic situation as a reason to re-think how they go about doing what they do. There are places where a requirement for a shift in both mindset and culture is being made more explicit, leading to a re-think about the nature of leadership, and how you measure success.

One example of this is a project commissioned by Nesta. The Innovation Unit is leading a programme of work pursuing Radical Efficiency (innovation that produces better outcomes at less cost) in 6 localities in England, all focused on early years services. One element of this – very similar to the approach we take in thepublicoffice – is to showcase exemplars of innovative practice, which can inspire people with the art of the possible.

I’m on the urgent lookout for new exemplars of innovation in the way outcomes have been delivered – especially (but not exclusively) in complex social policy areas. CAN YOU HELP? I’m particularly interested in any examples of work you can point me to which illustrate the themes below:

  • Uncover, build and really work with existing community capacity, networks and resources to deliver services
  • Overcome barriers to engagement with existing services (e.g. improving information and awareness, re-branding, tackling fear of judgement and stigma around accessing support)
  • Meet people where they are at – physically relocate services to places where people already are or go regularly and where they feel comfortable
  • Work with new ‘units’ of users – moving from children or traditional family units to really extended units of support (e.g. grandparents, close friends etc)
  • Rethink the role of the professional; create a much more mixed economy of support in the delivery of services, e.g. peer:peer, professional and non professional, formal and informal
  • Create a system with a diverse mix of service providers, formal and informal, private, voluntary and public sector

Suggestions needed ASAP. Prizes definitely on offer for suggestions that we use 🙂

3 Responses to “Seeking best practice to inform ‘next’ practice”

alex wrote on July 3rd, 2010 7:37 pm :


Great to see you are posting articles here ; hope you are well.

You should maybe contact Ingrid Koehler at the Communities of Practice web-site put together by Steve Dale and others. I think there are 60,000 members now and we ought to be able to come up with examples of what you request.

John Seddon’s Vanguard newsletter jout out talked about Portsmouth and their approach to housing repairs in glowing terms. This may not fit into any of your categories.

Looking at them, I still don’t think that many public sector organisations are prepared to give up their control to make them a reality yet.

Calouste Gulbenkian are financing a project in Lanarkshire to enable grandparents to link up with their grandchildren where there has been family separation. Still early days though.

Maybe speak if you wish.

Phil Matimein wrote on July 23rd, 2010 6:35 am :

Call me a cynic…many do, but having worked in government for many years, the blog ‘You Can’t Polish a Turd’ is very close to the bone and explains much about where I have worked and the underlying bureaucracy.

Paul wrote on October 11th, 2010 11:11 pm :

There are lots of good examples of ‘rethinking the role of the professional and creating a much more mixed economy of support in the delivery of services’ in Adult Social Care across the UK at the moment.

Swathes of the formerly social work professional’s part of the assessment & support provision process have been passed on to local User-Led Organisations and/or 3rd sector Support Planning & Brokerage providers (e.g. Shaw Trust, MIND, Age Concern and many many others).

This has, in my (fairly limited but >1 indepth) experience highlighted the generally appalling state of Councils’ procurement/contract management/quality assurance arrangements – as well as their ability to effectively seed & sponsor grassroots organisations through self-sustainability – but nevertheless there is a potential power in supporting people with ‘eligible’ social care needs being able to (supported) self-assess, do their person-centred support plan themselves (or be supported by a suitable peer with experience of navigating the social care ‘system’) and self-review.

Early days, mind, but once part of the remit and focus of the traditional (and grudgingly paternalistic) social care model has been outsourced (albeit theoretically to the good guys), barring a media shitstorm prompted by a horrendous calamity (and frankly there will be examples out there of truly dreadful service in the new approach arising for various reasons – untimely support, inappropriate individual budget management method, resistant social care workforce), there ain’t no going back.

I digress. The Coalition for Independent Living/WAND’s support planning & brokerage portal and self-employed peer-to-peer facilitating 3rd party support planning & brokerage business model seems like a rather good one, even if the IT system itself is still in development and is rather clunky (lots of small print, not terribly accessible). Much better but without the self-employed peer-to-peer stuff is the Quickheart system.

On reflection there are examples in each of your categories in the Adult Social Care world, buoyed as it has been by serious hard cash in the social care reform grant, alongside the need to scale back inhouse services (poor outcomes, high cost) and reduce staff costs (the usual move functions to the front door/access teams, reduce bureaucracy, merge client group-based teams into function-based teams, centralise, localise etc).

On a positive note, I’m currently working with a Council’s ULO to agree a co-production strategy and action plan and it’s exciting stuff; power to the people! You simply cannot knock listening to customers and, hopefully, having the resources and political will to bring proper improvement to the bureaucratic monolith.

I’m struggling to locate the You Can’t Polish a Turd blog, that would be prize enough. I have some glitter sprinkles.