Good Practice: Creative ways to promote personalisation

There is little point in expanding personalisation if service users – and the practitioners supposed to assist them – don’t know enough about it or where to turn to find innovative services. So here we look at four ways to put the personalisation message out and help local authorities act more creatively.

Make a game of it

Playing a board game in the office may not seem much like work but this is what Gill Phillips wants professionals to do. She is the creator of Whose Shoes? – Putting People First, a board game to help local authorities, care providers and universities understand how to meet the personalisation agenda.

The game was created with the help of experts from Coventry University and addresses the topic from the perspective of practitioners, commissioners, care providers and services users. The game contains 150 scenarios about the importance of universal services such as transport and education, early intervention and prevention, self-directed support and involving the local community.

Phillips is well placed to understand the complex challenges of personalisation having spent 30 years working in various social care posts for Coventry Council. She left the local authority last November to set up Nutshell Communications in order to promote the game.

She says: “Whose Shoes? tries to get across a lot more than just personal budgets. Unless you take staff and service users with you they are not going to understand the breadth of personalisation.”

Since its launch last winter several local authorities and universities, including West Sussex Council and Manchester Metropolitan University, have purchased copies of the £525 game.

E-shopping for support

People who use social care support services and products can now log on to shop4support and choose exactly what they want in this virtual marketplace. Billed as an eBay for social care, the website aims to make it an easier and more effective way for service users to spend their individual budgets.

Service users can access the site 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and see what providers – ranging from individual personal assistants to large organisations – are offering them. They can also manage their budget and billing online.

The site is operated as a social enterprise by Valueworks, which specialises in e-commerce businesses. Jeff Dandridge, chief executive of Valueworks, says such a website is an excellent way of showing personalisation in action: “It is hugely effective at promoting personalisation because it encourages people to create their own support plans.”

The idea for the site, he says, came from the In Control pilots that enabled people with learning disabilities to have a greater involvement in self-directed care. “There was a massive gap in the market and In Control recognised that if you gave people individual budgets there was nowhere for them to spend them.”

Since the site started in July 2008 it has worked with 80 local authorities across England and it has 30 service providers.

Social care TV

The Social Care Institute for Excellence is adopting the approach of teachers’ education programmes on television and online service It is creating a broadband service on its website called Social Care TV, which will officially be launched at October’s national children’s and adults services conference.

Social Care TV will be a series of short videos covering different issues relating to personalisation, dementia, participation, and the Mental Capacity Act.

Each video takes the form of a filmed case study of social care clients talking about their lives and the services they use, complete with a voiceover explaining the case. So far a 20-minute video about personalisation has been filmed using Scie’s e-learning budget from the Department of Health.

Social Care TV site

Personalisation roadshow

Last month NHS South East Coast became the first strategic health authority in England to run regional roadshows about personalised care across health and social care.

The two roadshows, in Gatwick and West Kent, were for people with long-term conditions, frontline health and social care practitioners and third sector organisations. As well as the latest guidance, tools and techniques on providing care for people living with a range of conditions, the roadshows highlighted innovative examples of personalised care already in use to spread the message.

At the end of the event packs containing copies of speakers’ presentations, weblinks and information on how to obtain help and advice on managing a long-term condition were given out to all those who attended.

Yvonne Doyle, regional director for public health at the NHS South East Coast and Government Office for the South East, says: “It was a neat way of exchanging information between people with an interest in managing long-term conditions.”

● Community Care will be launching an online resource for professionals working with the personalisation agenda. Keep an eye on

This article is published in the 23 April issue of Community Care under the heading Publicising personalisation

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