Dorset County Council signs up to Making it Real

Dorset County Council recently held a successful launch to celebrate a new commitment to a person centred approach to delivering adult and community services.

How Dorset​ County Council will utilise Making it Real

  • The council will utilise Making It Real, as designed and advised by TLAP, to place people who use services and carers at the centre of decision making processes.
  • The council has had an awareness of Making It Real for a few years but with recent pressures on public services and restructures within the authority, the ability to implement and drive this forward has been restricted.
  • Strong leadership from the Director for Adult and Community Services and the appointment of a Partnerships and Engagement Officer has enabled a commitment and focus.
  • The council recognises that to deliver services more effectively and to deliver responsibilities under the Care Act, it is essential for people in our communities to have more choice and control so they can live full and independent lives.

Personalisation is a key driver for change and Making It Real supports the process to make this happen. Councillor Jill Haynes, Cabinet Member for Adult Health, Care and Independence confirms the commitment: “We wish to implement Making It Real to highlight the issues most important to the quality of people's lives, to promote the co-production of mechanisms for change, and to publicly share the progress being made.”

Taking a more influential role

The launch event was the first step towards people who use services taking a more influential role in shaping services and taking control. It enforced the commitment and sold the concept and benefits of Making It Real to people who use services, carers, communities and partners. The overwhelming response from all that attended was extremely positive.

Over 30 aims were identified by attendees which include:

  • A new ethos embedded at all levels,
  • strategic influence with the ability to challenge and change,
  • service users co-production at the heart of everything,
  • person centred approach,
  • integration of health and social care,
  • transparency and honesty.

Michael Hurst, an expert by experience taking a lead role in helping to shape Making It Real in Dorset feels there is great potential: “I am very pleased Dorset County Council has made this commitment and I am thrilled to be involved. Making It Real will ensure the people that matter have a voice with the ability to challenge and change. Helping to shape services and promote independence can make such a difference to so many people.”

On-going challenges

The challenge now is to establish an infrastructure to make this happen.

Since the launch, a shadow board has been established of people who use services and partners to help co-produce the next steps. The Shadow Board is responsible for:

  • Establishing the board in terms of membership and terms of reference,
  • recruiting and training experts by experience to have the skills and confidence to take a leading role,
  • establish engagement structures to represent service users,
  • establishing a co-production concordat,
  • undertaking a service user assessment of all services to create an action plan and identify priorities.

Parallel to this work, Dorset County Council has begun the process of embedding Making It Real and engagement with health authorities.

The council will utilising the ‘I’ statements as a way of ensuring all of our services are being considered from a service user view. The overall aim is for all services to measure and justify provision against these statements and for the Making It Real Board and the engagement structures that feed into it to challenge and influence change.

The future

It is still early stages but the momentum is growing. These are exciting times for Dorset and the new commitment to giving service users powerful and influential voices is very much a positive step in achieving personalisation and independence for our communities.

Dorset would especially like to thank TLAP for the support and guidance, and also Islington Council for their support as an example of good practice.      


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