Breaking down barriers and bureaucracy: Client Centred Services

Name of the organisation: Livability
Contact person: Tony Lyons
Email: TLyons@livability.org.uk

Personalisation Activity:
Pictorial tenancies, easy read staff profiles, simplified support plans and accessible representation for clients.

Who was involved?
Clients, staff and housing provider.

Description:
Livability is constantly reviewing its service to ensure that it offers as much choice and control as possible and asked Sitra to meet with staff and clients to suggest possible improvements to housing support service delivery.  The service provides tailored support to meet the needs of clients with learning disabilities living in a shared supported living setting.  Sitra audit identified what is paramount to clients in support delivery is the emphasis they place on their relationships with staff, the importance of their support and for Livability the need for client voice to be as inclusive as possible.  Livability identified a number of areas where it could improve its approach to personalisation:
• Pictorial tenancies have been developed and are in the process of being used with new clients.
• A basic “easy read” staff picture profile page has been developed so clients and those important to them can familiarise themselves with the support staff, assisting introductions and establishing areas of shared interest.
• A simple profile for the person centred plans, using “inclusive communication” format is now used. “Communication champions” in services work to ensure this is done.  Easy read format of information is now the norm.
• Clients are asked in meetings what makes a good support worker. Questions asked at interviews are based on the qualities that clients identify.
• As a national organisation there is client representation for each area. Skype meetings, funding for extra support and travel costs to and from meetings and the best times and places are considered so all client representatives can be involved.

Time frame:
The work started in January when Sitra audited the service and is ongoing.

What evidence have you had this has improved outcomes for individuals using services?
• Clients say they are pleased about what has changed as a result of their requests.
• Clients report they are happy with their support as it is directed by simply identifying their wants and using this as a goal.
• Clients are speaking up about how they may achieve their outcomes with a clearer understanding of future needs.
• The implementations have given clients a greater voice and how they can increase input to promote the lives of disable people nationally, with full participation and a happy more progressive culture evidenced.

How this resulted in improved outcomes for the service itself?
• There is an increase in client engagement at a scheme and national level.
• The gap between clients and staff understanding of each other has narrowed.
• A more seamless personalised service, better able to deliver improved outcomes with greater communication and understanding of the support delivery required by client.
• Implementations have invigorated staff energy and engagement with improving the lives of the individuals with whom they support.
• Staff are better able to appreciate how creativity and pro-active thinking can make a big difference to the lives of the people with whom they support, while also improving job satisfaction and learning.
• Implementations have uncovered various skills within the staff team that can promote service delivery.
• It has set the pace for continual improvement and full participation of the clients to shape their service moving forward.
• The service is better able to evidence the good work that it does and to show where improvements are needed and how this would be remedied.
• There is a more absorbing approach to change, development and engagement to deliver a service that moves with the clients and modernises where necessary.

What challenges did the organisation face? How were these resolved?
Once the new initiatives were rolled out both staff and clients could see the advantages and were very keen to use or participate in them.

Are there any resources or top tips to share?
• Identify a champion for the work
• Relieve apprehensions from staff and clients by open discussion, feedback and co-production.
• Deal with negativity head on and encourage positive solutions.
• Examples of simple to read staff profiles, client wants and interview questions to the right of the page.