Blueprint For Personalised Care & Support
United Response: leadership
Innovative practice around Personalisation:
England and Wales: United Response
Project: Good to Great
United Response is a charity that provides a range of services for people across England and Wales, including 24-hour support; outreach support or work with people to be in control of the support they choose. They found that many people they support struggled to engage with meaningful activities. Determined to change this, and in partnership with Helen Sanderson Associates (HSA), United Response developed and implemented the "Good To Great" training programme. The practice was designed to improve the lives of everyone they support and their carers, meaning 1,800 people with learning disabilities or mental health needs and 2,500 staff.
More than 200 people were involved in the original research identifying the best ways to improve services, and all subsequent services were built around their preferences. Similarly, staff led the "Good To Great" practice, by participating as "leaders" and "coaches", and by guiding the project with their ideas and best practice. None of this would have been possible without the full and engaged involvement of people using the service, who shaped this best practice directly.
Thousands of staff hours were invested in making the practice work and approximately £56,000 was invested over two years. This funded HSA's time as well as the training programme and materials.
The main outcome was that people with learning disabilities now lead more engaged, active and fulfilling lives. The "Good To Great" programme accelerated a process already underway in United Response - it emphasised teamwork and provided a set of problem-solving tools which enabled frontline staff to tap into their passions and talents every day. This not only transformed the lives of the people they worked with, but also staff's own job satisfaction.
Ongoing learning and reflection days are held across the organisation, ensuring continual improvement based on what they've learnt.
There were some further practical changes:
- All people's support plans now explicitly include person-centred active support principles.
- "Community maps" were created for many people United Response supports, ensuring that interaction with the community is a vital element of success.
- Rotas were adjusted to play more to employees' individual strengths and interests.
- Learning logs were put in place for all people we support and reviewed regularly, an absolutely vital element of the success of the pilot.
The greatest change was seen among people with the most complex needs. Most now spend up to 50% of their time taking part in activities compared with less than 6% of their time in 2000. Three quarters of those with the most complex needs improved their skills over time.
One member of staff said:
"It's transformed the lives of the people we support. One man, Graham, uses a wheelchair and doesn't communicate verbally. For years the most significant part of his life was attending a day service where there was over-reliance on dull activities, like jigsaws. Partly as a consequence, Graham's behaviour could be aggressive, a result of frustration that his skills were underestimated."
"By using Good To Great tools - working out what Graham's abilities were, and what was important to him - we realised he suited office work. He consequently attended a Job Centre interview - everyday for some people, but a huge challenge for Graham - and now works at the Derbyshire Centre for Integrated Living. He has thrived there, is happier, more engaged and more communicative, and Good To Great made that happen."
Another key measurement was greater retention of staff. While social care traditionally has a very high staff turnover, this training radically cut it. A typical United Response service in July 2007 had a staff turnover of 28%: where the training was introduced this dropped to 12%. This meant a major reduction in recruitment costs, as well as use of expensive agency staff. Continuity of care consequently improved.
This project has been shortlisted for several sector awards, including best disability project at the Charity Awards. It was a winner in the National Training Awards.
The practice is sustainable and essential to meeting the needs of current and future customers, giving people care that is entirely person-centred.
For further information: http://www.unitedresponse.org.uk/.