SCIE’s new year plan: Growing innovative practice across the sector

Featured article - 13 January 2020
By Ryan Wise, Practice Development Manager, SCIE

Innovation Network meeting

As a social worker I often noticed that excellent practice could exist in spite of the system and not because of it. The system does not always allow for a curious exploration of complexity and uncertainty. That’s why I joined SCIE; because at the heart of SCIE’s practice is the building on people’s strengths. It’s about celebrating their own stories and their power to shape the way services are designed and delivered. Here are some of the ways in which SCIE will be doing this in 2020.

We will continue working with Local Authorities to embed strengths-based practice. SCIE work with organisations in exploring their unique culture and context to enable excellent practice to thrive within a local system. Nationally as part of our work leading the Social Care Innovation Network alongside partners Think Local Act Personal (TLAP) and Shared Lives Plus, Phase 2 of the programme will consider how to affect change in core parts of the system.

We are working with the adult social care sector to consider how innovative ideas can be built upon and progressed in three specific areas:

  • Developing the asset-based area model in more depth
  • Re-designing commissioning so that it supports innovation by becoming more citizen led
  • Taking self-directed support back to its roots so that it affords authentic choice and control and enables people to connect and contribute

I am delighted to support the asset-based learning groups and we will be spending time with commissioners, providers and people with lived experience to develop and grow innovation which enables communities to connect and achieve positive change for themselves.

This focus on systems thinking is a core part of SCIE; for example our Learning Together methodology is used throughout our work in safeguarding, and we are pleased to observe how systems thinking in both adults and children’s social care is gaining increasing attention. Organisations are moving on from a narrow view of practice to consider the functioning and interconnected nature of the whole system.

We are seeing more examples of groups and individuals starting to do things differently. One idea I have recently been involved in is thinking about how principles of self-management and learning from approaches like Buurtzorg in the Netherlands can be applied to children’s social care. This has been happening for the last few years in adults social care and represents the new direction being taken. The path is lit by principles of devolved responsibility, trust and importantly for SCIE, thinking about power in a different way in order to co-produce and co-design with citizens.

Co-production is one important key enabler to growing and developing innovation. Coproduction builds relationships to share power between professionals and citizens recognising that we all have a contribution to make to improve quality of life and achieve better outcomes.

SCIE will continue to build on 20 years of co-production work in adults social care with a particular focus on how organisations co-produce their services in children’s social care. Working with Local Authority partners SCIE will be developing new ideas and tools, and will seek to share best practice when looking to develop and embed co-production in children’s services.

Here at SCIE we continue to observe and be involved with innovative developments in how services meet the needs of adults, children and families. There is a lot to do but we seem but there are indicators that the social care is heading the right way. With a new decade upon us there is cause for optimism.

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