Yesterday I attended the seminar organised by WCVA at Cardiff University, at which Ailsa Cook and Emma Miller presented on Talking Points: A Personal Outcomes Approach, a model developed in partnership with Scottish Government, which combines user and carer involvement with an outcomes approach to planning, delivering, evaluating and improving services.
The whole afternoon was very interesting of course – here are just a couple of points that stood out for me:
In order to move from a service-led to an outcomes-focused model, there needs to be a whole organisation shift: culture + practice + systems.
For this to happen, the focus needs to be first on culture and practice – and only then make new systems. You can’t start with a new system that’s not underpinned by practice, otherwise people won’t know how to use it and will revert to previous practices. Conversely, you do need to develop new systems: you can’t have good practice (great conversations) and then slot people into the existing (old, service-led) system… it defeats the purpose.
To change culture and practice, there are a number of training needs that will need to be met. For example:
Practice requires particular skills – they are not new skills, often they are core professional skills, but they need to be revisited, supported, sometimes restored (‘unlearning’).
Training starts with a profound understanding of the meaning of the concepts. (In this case, outcomes. I see the parallel with the need for a clear understanding of co-production.)
Supervision, which is itself outcomes-focused (considering the personal outcomes of the member of staff themselves), reinforces the practice. Model the type of behaviour you are trying to promote.
And finally, strong leadership is needed to give staff ‘permission’ to practice differently.
Adopting any co-productive approach in an organisation is much more than learning new models and tools – it is a profound culture change, and this mindshift must be embraced at every level of the organisation for the transition to be effective.