As specialists in delivering Adults and Children’s social work services, we have learned over the past three years how to keep delivery of services flexible and appropriate for all clients and service users, whilst also ensuring value for money at its heart, in addition to sustainability for both Local Authorities and the provider market.
Our management team, with over 20 years’ experience of integrated health and social care services, speaks about how applying a strengths-based approach within ICS has enabled our project teams to deliver substantial outcomes, maintaining clients’ independence and ensure well-commissioned services all round.
Read further about our approach below, and contact us here to find out more.
Strengths-based approaches mean improvements in quality, quantity and the value of care
Applying strengths-based practice is more about communicating with and managing a network of people – friends, family, carers, communities, providers – than simply approaching the individual with a personal, skills-focused assessment bias. We have discovered how great value care is best achieved using the entire ‘network’ around a person to learn where a) areas of strength may have been previously underutilised, b) the ‘safety net’ of established provision has overshadowed longer-term wellbeing, and c) how new services might be applicable to an individuals’ changing circumstances.
So, what have we found?
- A timely annual review is critical to ensuring outcomes are being maintained – focusing on a step-down approach, maintaining or moving towards independence and ensuring providers are supporting positive improvements in people’s lives is done by regular, objective, social-work led assessments of needs and the impact on wellbeing. Without regular review, the ‘system’ around an individual can lose touch with the true value of care being provided, and worse, lose focus on the goals that are important to an individual.
- Strengths-based approaches provide stimulus for new services – commissioning new services, and new service providers, is best achieved by applying this approach. It drives social work to ask ‘what could we provide to [an individual] to meet their goals, if something doesn’t exist already?’. Gathering and analysing this information at a micro-level is invaluable to engage commissioners in searching for innovative care and support offerings, as it drives the review process from the perspective of an ‘ideal’ or ‘future’ commissioning scenario, rather than that of a ‘current’ or ‘available’ state.
- Expectations should be managed for all stakeholders – involving the client, providers, carers and their family requires time and effort – and a lot of management of expectations. Carers may feel differently about the individuals’ needs than a family member does, and a provider might have a different perspective to the individual about what resources can best meet their needs. Support plans need to represent what works best for an individual, taking into account how this network can best be utilised to their benefit – but the most important success factor to is to take all stakeholders on the same journey.
- Value increases when reviews focus around control of support by the individual, not for the individual – where direct payments or personal budgets can be identified, putting individuals at the heart of choice of their own care hugely increases its value for them and their network. Families and communities benefit from care much closer to home, and providers are driven to maintain person-centred care. Regular review of how funds are spent also reveals innovative ways people will meet their own needs, whilst maintaining the market’s flexibility to deliver a range of options.
Over £3.5 million in savings made through timely, evidence-based reviews – keeping clients’ independent and safe, with a focus on provider outcomes
Up to July this year, we completed 3,700 client reviews in our Care Assessment & Review projects, and identified £3,524,359 annualised savings based on net changes to existing care packages. This represents:
- More than £54m annualised care package costs reviewed by ICS
- 3:1 average RoI on project costs
- 6.5% average budgetary savings to Councils
The range and complexity of reviews are conducted across a range of client groups including Learning Disabilities, Physical Disabilities, Older People and Mental Health packages, including a range of support settings in Residential, Domiciliary Care and Supported Living. Assessments are provided for those in receipt of directly commissioned care, direct payments and personal budget allowances.