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NCASC 2018: Small scale innovation will not be enough to sustain social care

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Ewan King, director of business development and delivery, the Social Care Institute for Excellence (SCIE) looks forward to discussing this and other hot topics at this week's NCASC conference in Manchester.  

Ewan King - portrait
Ewan King: 'Our resources can help commissioners of services or people interested in developing preventative approaches.'

It is easy to forget in immensely difficult times, but there are still many examples around of innovative, person-centred, social care and support out there.

Earlier this year, one such example, Wellbeing Teams, were selected as one of 50 New Radicals 2018, an award that the innovation foundation Nesta are running for radical-thinking individuals and organisations changing the UK for the better.

Wellbeing Teams are self-managing small, neighbourhood teams which are transforming the homecare model in parts of the North West and Doncaster.

And Somerset County Council has worked with the social enterprise Community Catalysts to stimulate micro-providers to develop care and support services in rural areas, enabling people to get support from community enterprises in ways, times and places that suit them and their families. The council estimates that this approach has saved over £800,000 a year.

We hope that this ties in well with this week’s announcement on how prevention can be put at the heart of the nation's health.

Our social care prevention resources can help commissioners of services or people interested in developing preventative approaches, to give them some inspiration and ideas about how they could go about implementing a preventive

But what do you think are the biggest challenges to prevention in social care? Do let us know by contacting us

Discussing innovation at conference

At the NCASC event SCIE, Nesta, Think Local, Act Personal and Shared Lives Plus will facilitating a session discussing growing innovation in adults and children’s social care.

It’s on 15 November at 11.30 in Charter One. The session will be chaired by Alex Fox, Chief Executive of Shared Lives Plus, with contributions from: Stuart Cowley, Director of Adult Social Care from Wigan; Annie Hudson, Strategic Director Children’s Services at Lambeth Council; and Sally Percival, Chair of the National Coproduction Advisory Group, hosted by TLAP.

This will follow a session we are helping called ‘Glimpses of the future in the toughest of times’, a session at the Social Care Future event, which we are helping to facilitate. The session aims to bring together local areas scaling innovation and sharing learning.

This all complements Nesta, Shared Lives Plus and SCIE’s report from earlier this year, Growing innovative models of health, care and support for adults.

Problem / solution

As I say, there are some great examples of innovation around. Here’s another: Integrated Plus in Dudley, a voluntary sector delivered social prescribing service, supports people who are frequently a high risk of hospital admission, by looking at the whole needs of a person, and the service works with people to develop solutions.

It has led to a 29% reduction GP in-surgery consultations and to 74% of onward referrals into the voluntary sector.

The problem, however, is less about cultivating new innovations, but more about bringing existing innovations to much larger populations - to bring them to scale. In too many cases, great examples of social care innovation remain small-scale.

Even after demonstrating that they work as pilots, we have sometimes struggled to shift money into these initiatives to help them grow. Lack of money has been part of it, but some local areas are confounding difficult conditions and managing to invest in innovation. We need to learn from them.

This autumn much of the talk will be about immediate winter pressures. Let’s hope we also find time to discuss how  we develop a longer-term plan for building a person-centred care system built on the best innovations.

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