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Working with multiple agencies across the system

Modernising services : new use for old buildings

A Primary Care Trust (PCT) is responsible for developing a much loved hospital site where uncoordinated services are presently provided by 7 different agencies. They are keen to improve services for local people by developing new service models. They commissioned us to work with them to set a strategic direction which could influence the actions of their partner agencies to create a modern ‘fit for purpose’ facility. We designed and facilitated a whole system strategic planning process. We did this in a way which helped build capacity within the PCT to use modern planning processes. ‘I didn’t really expect much but you have made us look at this again and it’s clear to me what we have to grapple with’.( PCT planner)

Bridging the gap between strategy and delivery

A Local Strategic Partnership wanted meaningful cross-agency work to improve services for frail, older people by using resources differently (the resources of Social Services, Housing, the Acute Hospital Trust and the Primary Care Trust as a starting point). We were asked to work with them to close the gap between intention and implementation. In a series of workshops we brought together local planners, frontline staff and residents to explore possibilities together. ‘My contribution today was the tip of the iceberg - keep us involved’  (district nurse).  Our aim was to build confidence among operational staff that ‘the planners’ understand how things work on the ground; to enable people to recognise that ‘we’re in this together’; and to gather intelligence for a cross-agency planning group. We used a system mapping process which enables people to describe how things really happen rather than how they are supposed to happen. Most participants got a real buzz out of hearing other perspectives, and a much better understanding of the system of which they are a part. And the new understanding led to immediate action: two people were of sufficient seniority from the hospital and the local authority to agree there and then during the meeting to re-locate the Carelink Night Service to the Emergency Dept.

Engaging stakeholders in shaping long-term priorities

A Strategic Health Authority wanted to make the most of wide-ranging local expertise and to seek consensus about the key issues that would shape local planning processes.  We were commissioned to support them in taking on the role of ‘system organiser’. Their starting point was to acknowledge that organisations have to do their business within different performance frameworks, policy guidance and funding streams – and learn to work in new ways as part of an inter-connected system. We created a workshop design which successfully brought together 200 people (local government, commercial business, clinicians, managers, patients, voluntary sector, public services). We helped design analytical material to share data and projections across sectors. 

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