The Difference a Day Makes
Instead of holding a series of meetings over months where people endlessly discuss the problems, it is possible to bring together the 'whole system' for one day to analyse, create a vision, and plan actions.
For one client the focus was strengthening preventative services for older people in Norfolk. The one day session was held just as the Council was announcing significant cuts in the adult services budget. Participants included older people, public service providers and the lead politician with responsibility for adult services. The design of the event kept people positively focused. They identified the very best of current practice;the preventative work that it was essential to preserve; and generated new ideas for how the work could be developed in a time of cutbacks. The creative thinking impressed the senior politician and Director of Adult Services, as did people's willingness to identify the actions that they could contribute to support the work.
In the event, the budget cut was reduced. This meant:
- The Council did not raise eligibility for help for older people
- the sensory support team was only cut by half not totally
- the 2011-12 prevention budget was cut by £1m rather than £6m
What the client said:
“It was really good to have a facilitator who was independent, yet who was familiar with the the national and county context that the participants - politicians, local government and voluntary agency officers and older people themselves - have to work within. I found Elaine very good to work with as we planned the day – she is flexible and a team player, and her style is positive and cheerful. The outcomes for the day were achieved, and we are building on this experience as we face the next round of proposed cuts in 2012-13 prevention services. I am sorry that other commitments mean that she is unable to facilitate our 2011 Awayday.”
What participants say of these sorts of planning sessions:
'Lovely style of the facilitator, she generated lots of imaginative and do-able ideas’
‘Participatory and innovative - good methodology at the end to pull it together - placards and voting with feet was great’ .
Other examples include:
Planning for the future with a Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce
Programme of strategic planning focused on health and social care issues for Norfolk County Council and Partners (Challenge, Connect Change Programme):
- Improving Mental Health
- Reducing Suicides
- Improving the life chances of families with complex problem
- Domestic Violence
Tackling Unemployment in Norwich
Developing the Community Safety Strategy in Stevenage