Whole-area innovation in health, care and support for adults
Whole-area innovation takes place when there is a system-wide vision and strategy for scaling and embedding the best models of care.
This involves a concerted, whole-system approach to identifying, developing and scaling innovations.
The “Deal” is our plan of plans. It is our budget strategy. It is a single unifying philosophy that holds everything we and our partners do to make families and communities self-reliant while taking out systemic waste. As we shrink as a council, we have invested £7.5 million into the community to grow our brilliant social enterprises and community projects that reach the parts we can’t reach.Donna Hall, Chief Executive, Wigan Council
Case study: North Yorkshire Innovation Fund
Funded by North Yorkshire County Council’s Health and Adult Services Directorate, the Innovation Fund aimed to support voluntary and community organisations in innovative approaches to provide early intervention or prevention measures. The overall goal was to transform adult social care in the county and help to prevent, reduce or delay the need for statutory social care services.
The Innovation Fund awarded grants against these three themes:
- Reducing loneliness and isolation
- Prevention and falls
- Supporting people to remain in their own homes.
Over four funding rounds, 28 projects received funding worth a total of £1.13 million. The last round of funding occurred in January 2017 and future innovation is to be supported as part of the Stronger Communities programme.
Key factors supporting scaling up
In a Year 3 impact report, Innovation Fund projects reported tangible outcomes for the people who used their services, including improved mental health, reduced social isolation and enhanced independence. However, providers also reported ways in which being an Innovation Fund beneficiary helped them to scale up their activity, beyond the initial impact of the funding itself. Most notably this included the following.
- The funding helped providers to trial and pilot new models of delivery and to evaluate what worked and its impact. This experience – and evidence – enabled several providers to secure investment from other funding schemes after the innovation funding finished.
- Providers also reported increased opportunities to collaborate and work in partnership with other local services. This helped build up networks and resilience.
Case study: Wigan’s place-based approach
‘The Deal’ is an informal agreement between the council and everyone who lives or works in Wigan, to work together to create a better borough. It is driving new relationships between citizens and services, and between staff and management across the council.
The Deal has encouraged a different type of conversation between council and citizens. Instead of looking at residents as a collection of needs and problems, the borough views everyone as individuals who have strengths, assets, gifts and talents. This asset-based approach has:
- driven awareness of a richer range of local assets
- generated a new approach to investing in those community assets
- empowered staff with the training and tools to connect individuals to resources
- concentrated resources at key stages, for example around reablement.
This approach has led to a reduced demand for formal care, removed capacity that doesn’t address demand (e.g. the borough has reduced the number of day centres from 15 to 5), reduced the number of permanent admissions to residential/nursing care and increased staff satisfaction.
Key factors supporting scaling up
The Deal has been implemented and embraced across the local authority. This has been enabled through:
- a clear vision, which has been driven by political and executive leadership
- funding from NESTA and a Local Government Association innovation programme
- workforce development and capacity-building for the entire workforce around asset- or strengths-based approaches.