Buckinghamshire County Council faces growing pressure on their adult social care system – from increasingly complex needs in an ageing population combined with drastic cuts to local government budgets. They needed a social care model that supported people to live independently for longer.
Our service design team carried out detailed ethnographic research with the group we were targeting. These insights then deeply informed a series of interactive workshops and prototyping sessions with over 100 stakeholders - from frontline staff and council leaders, to community and voluntary organisations representatives - to co-produce a more effective, preventative model of care.
The model we developed focuses on enabling and empowering people to stay independent for longer. This is achieved by building community capacity and social networks and increasing the effectiveness of the system to signpost between existing community and statutory services before needs escalate. There is evidence that the greater social capital people have, the better they are at accessing resources and services in a timely way. At the same time, by being engaged in activity such as work or volunteering, people have more purpose and connections, which enhances their independence and sense of wellbeing.
Four new components are being introduced into the system to deliver this radical change. These will include:
- two new roles, in the form of ‘Community Links Officers’, whose work will focus on bridging and growing networks, and ‘Community Prevention Workers’, whose activities will involve hand-holding and directly motivating and supporting individuals to identify and meet their needs.
- an ‘Intelligence Hub’, where databases of crucial information will be gathered, monitored and disseminated to ensure strategic alignment across the county
- a ‘Volunteer Hub’, which will mobilise individuals and connect them to community opportunities.
The interactions between these four seemingly discreet components will result in an alert, responsive and enabling system that will deliver radical, sustainable change in the form of widespread prevention.