Information and advice services - Leicestershire County Council
This project is in the early stages. The council have developed a new 'delivery model' for information and advice services in Leicestershire. This will involve two new services as well as new publications and web content. The first service is 'assisted information' in two local libraries which will run as a pilot for a minimum of six months with the aim of introducing it in all main libraries across the County. The idea is that anyone who needs help to find information, understand it and make use of it can speak to a library employee for up to 30 minutes. Anything more complex will be referred on. Library staff have been trained to be familiar with six new core leaflets and five local websites that hold relevant social care information.
The second is to review a group of contracts for information and advice services with VCS providers; these will be re-commissioned later this year. The intention is they will complement other services and fit the delivery model as part of a network of provision across the County. We have completed a public consultation exercise which indicated broad support for our proposals.
Who is the service for?
All actual or potential users of adult social care, their families and carers. The aim is to engage people not currently engaged with Council services because they fall below eligibility thresholds or who are self-funders. There is also a specific target on older people.
The intention is that people who use services are well informed and able to access information about services and options available to them, that they can make informed choices about how to help themselves or access support and that they are able to stay independent and in control.
Why is the service being developed?
For libraries it is essentially a test of whether local people view public libraries as an appropriate place to go for this kind of service. For the new contracts it was clear new services with new priorities and better able to meet need across the County are needed.
Were people who use services and carers and other key stakeholders involved in setting up this service?
There was consultation with small groups (luncheon clubs, carers groups, stroke clubs etc) as part of the assessment of need and two focus groups held through our engagement framework. Public consultation was carried out through a questionnaire on the Council's website and focus groups for local residents and providers.
For libraries, the Council library service is the key stakeholder and we were quickly able to identify mutual benefits. For the voluntary sector, key stakeholders current contract holders are vital. We have met with them together and individually, held an event and carried out public consultation.
Has the service met the intended outcomes?
It is too early to say although there is an evaluation framework in place. For the library pilot they have agreed measures of usage, satisfaction and improved outcomes and will also look for case studies.
Do you have information on costs or savings?
We have detailed costs for the library pilot for the six months. They will be less than £10K including training staff. The new way of VCS commissioning should result in a saving to the Council of around £76K per year. We expect to make efficiency savings by a reduced number of contracts and a better co-ordinated network of provision. The figure of £76K was considered a reasonable contribution to the Council's need to reduce costs.
What were the learning points in setting up this service?
- The importance of honest and open dialogue even where there wasn't agreement
- Keep a focus on end users
- Recognise the contributions of others and the knowledge they bring to the discussion.
David Brewin, Project Manager
Phone: 0116 3055543