Build on what exists for an asset-based area

Added on

When it comes to developing an Asset-Based Area no one is ever starting from scratch. Read How-to create an asset-based area part three. 

Every area already has organisations, professionals and local people; and mapping these assets is always the starting point. Some will already have adopted an asset-based mindset. Three useful principles are:

  • Co-producing the change - ensure that people and communities, as well as provider and voluntary, community and social enterprise (VCSE) organisations are involved, from the beginning, as system leaders, equal co-designers and participants in all parts of the change process. The starting question is “What does a good life look like round here and how can we all work towards it?” Not “How can we improve our existing services?”
  • It is both what you do, and the way that you do it - From the outset, the change process should be designed to model the new culture, relationships and expectations.
  • Value small changes but keep your eye on the prize - no matter the scale of the overall change involved, it will nearly always involve small steps. But these are small steps towards a paradigm shift, not incremental add-ons to conventional practice and commissioning.

Getting started

Having mapped existing assets and engaged people in identifying the end goal of a good life, an early step for service leaders will be to base-line current practice and commissioning . Support citizens and front line workers to identify where current practice and commissioning is already asset-based, or moving in that direction. The aim is to identify areas for productive early work, not to create a perfect baseline. The process brings together people, communities, commissioners and suppliers to build a jointly owned analysis and develop their understanding of asset-based action.

Agreeing a common audit tool can enable you to build a picture of what is changing. Audit questions might include:

  • How are all areas of practice and commissioning being reshaped around whole-life outcomes?
  • How many people are involved in co-production and self-help, and what do they say about it?
  • Are a growing number of non-statutory organisations involved in co-commissioning, and what do they say about it?
  • Which groups of stakeholders are driving forward the change to asset-based practice and which are yet to engage? Are new leaders emerging?

Links to all of the above innovations and more can be found in:

Alex Fox. (2017)   The Asset-Based Area. Online: Coalition for Collaborative Care, Shared Lives Plus, and Think Local Act Personal. 

Richard Field and Clive Miller. (2017) Asset-based commissioning: better outcomes, better value. Bournemouth: Bournemouth University. Available as a free download, in both its full (215 pp) and digested versions (11pp).

This how-to guide is one of a series of 13 that puts flesh on the bones of the vision of Asset-Based Areas and how they can be developed.