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Transforming adult social care in Suffolk - Suffolk County Council

Published on 09/09/2019

The Requirement

Like many local authorities, Suffolk County Council was facing significant challenges in relation to its Adult and Community Service (ACS). IMPOWER was initially tasked with helping Suffolk to identify a series of potential target demand scenarios in ACS. This work demonstrated there was significant potential to reduce demand volumes.

In the second phase of work, IMPOWER provided targeted support around culture and behaviour change in order to ensure the right conditions were in place to sustain change over the longer term. The Suffolk County Council felt they had introduced traditional demand management approaches but were still not seeing the benefits in either improved outcomes for people or financial savings.

The Solution

IMPOWER was commissioned to work with Suffolk County Council to transform adult social care, through the ESPO Consultancy Services framework (664) via Lot 4b Adult Social Care. IMPOWER reframed the problem faced by enabling them to understand why a strengths-based practice was not being applied by frontline staff, and how more effective demand management (at the pre-front door and front door) could free up capacity at all stages of the customer journey. This allowed staff to have longer and more effective conversations with customers, with the explicit aim of maximising their independence. An additional benefit of the work was that it helped re-shape and reframe the entire ACS demand management programme, with the client ultimately deciding that all projects should work towards the same goal of improving outcomes and reducing cost, rather than demand management being one project operating in isolation.

The Result

IMPOWER consultants were embedded within the council’s demand management team, allowing them to work closely together. This enabled genuine collaboration on both project deliverables and on other relevant activities, such as drafting communications to staff about the programme, shaping the programme governance, and introducing more considered language in AF1 letters being sent to customers. Frontline staff were engaged by facilitating demand management workshops with staff from across the service to share insights, identify opportunities and change behaviours in order to prevent, reduce or delay demand.

Trajectory Management was pivotal to:
  • Enabling the leadership team to track the impact of the demand management programme. This approach uses Primed Metrics to give a clear line of sight between delivery and financial savings, moving away from retrospectively monitoring savings lines in a spreadsheet to proactively seeing problems as they occur.
  • Co-designing a performance dashboard for team managers to help them support their teams in terms of strength-based practice and workload management. Enabling team managers to use data to identify pressure points within their teams and to guide supervision resulted in increased understanding of an outcomes focus and the wider demand management programme.

Behavioural science was central to the success of the project. For example, a behavioural lens was applied to the existing AF1 template letter in order to improve the response rate. Historically, the response to these AF1 requests was poor and the letter was therefore rewritten using a MINDSPACE approach.

IMPOWER facilitated conversations between the council and health partners across the three regions in Suffolk to help build appetite and momentum for taking a demand management approach through the health pathway. These discussions have led to the council and health partners actively taking forward initiatives to better understand and influence demand flowing into and through the acute hospitals in Suffolk, which will ultimately lead to wider system benefits and improved outcomes for patients and service users.

“Our collaboration with IMPOWER gave credibility to the plans we co-produced, giving confidence to our stakeholders. Adopting a Trajectory Management approach gave us the evidence we needed to obtain executive and political confidence in this activity, along with a framework around which we could monitor performance across the county.”

- Tracy Lindeman, Assistant Director, Suffolk County Council

To download a printable version of the case study, please click here.

For more information on ESPO’s Consultancy Services framework (664) contact the Managing People and Professional Services team on:

e:     |     t: 0116 294 4072

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