Personalisation: Top five tips for local authorities
As the shape of adult social care is being transformed by the personalisation agenda, some councils are already making significant progress through a fundamental change in the way that adult social care services are delivered. Sam Newman, personalisation programme director at OLM Group, offers his top five tips to help those local authorities that are yet to embark on the transformation journey achieve success.
1) Communicate, communicate, communicate
Devote sufficient time to develop and agree key messages regarding what you hope to achieve through personalisation, and ensure that these messages are then communicated to all stakeholders. Get everybody involved by discussing the key messages with staff, people needing support, families and partners feedback is invaluable at this stage. Embed this top and bottom information sharing for the duration of your change programme.
2) Create real involvement
Ensure that people and their families are in a position of influence to shape and direct the transformation, and also help ascertain what counts as success. This is more than traditional consultation. The councils that are already in the process of this change are successfully placing more power in the hands of the service users, which local authorities have struggled to do in the past. People themselves need to define what is regarded as value, what are acceptable risks, what defines a quality service, and what skills and expertise are required to help people get the lives they want.
3) Individualise the money for everyone – but start small
Personal budgets are for everyone, and yet naturally this will be interpreted differently by each individual. So settle as quickly as possible on a resource allocation methodology, and safely test it, ensuring the control of money reaches people. People will want a variety of choices about how the money gets managed including direct payments, pre-paid cards and leaving their budget in the local authority. By giving people control you will find out what they need, and how it is then spent. This is the most precious learning for local authorities and will guide the rest of the transformation process.
4) Learn from mistakes
Be brave and bold. Take risks seriously, and ensure that they are effectively managed, but do not let the inherent risk aversion of the current culture limit the scope of what is achievable. Mistakes are inevitable, particularly in the early stages, so view these errors as an invaluable lesson – learn from them, and more importantly, share them with other councils to help them avoid making the same mistakes.
5) Believe in the programme
We must never lose our sense of discomfort at the inherent risks and failings that are currently in the system, such as the people in institutional care who don’t need to be and never should have been and those living at home isolated and with poor support. The opportunity to transform the existing adult social care system and the whole system it operates in is an incredibly exciting prospect, so use these values and principles to create commitment and resilience for the challenging journey ahead.