Thursday, February 7, 2013

Police commissioners need to change, and councils can show them how

Last week Alan Travis, the Guardian’s home affairs editor, was scathing about the recent elections for police and crime commissioners (PCCs). His article quoted an Electoral Reform Society (ERS) report stating that the elections failed both candidates and voters:

“Voters were left in the dark about who they could vote for, while candidates were kept away by huge deposits, unclear eligibility rules, vast electoral districts and high campaign costs.”

His article also reported findings from a recent Populus poll, stating that only 11% of the public could correctly name their local commissioner.

Read the full article on The Guardian website.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

A bigger say in the NHS for patients

A truly patient-led NHS has been an aspiration in the health service for well over a decade. The motivation is born out of the realisation that improving patient involvement could lead to better services, higher standards of care and greaterefficiency savings. Furthermore, high profile failings, such as those at Mid Staffordshire NHS trust, have highlighted just how bad patient care can be and show what happens when patient experience and engagement is not treated as a priority. The government has  built on 15 years  of initiatives aimed at putting patients both at the heart of decision making and as arbiters of quality.

Read the full article on The Guardian website

Friday, December 21, 2012

Harness assets to truly make savings

The Department for Communities & Local Government’s guide to saving money, published earlier this week, contains some tips that councils may find helpful.

There is, however, little in it to signify the “change in culture” which Eric Pickles refers to in the foreword. There are some neat ideas like pop-up shops in public buildings, alongside the familiar demands for frugality when it comes to biscuits in meetings and council away-days. But whilst pennies ultimately make pounds, these “fifty ways to save” on the whole feel like small beer in light of the scale of budget cuts on the horizon.

Read the full article on the LGC website.


Thursday, December 6, 2012

“Mutual and co-operative approaches to delivering local services” report published

OPM was very pleased to contribute to the CLG Committee’s “Mutual and cooperative approaches to delivering local services” report, published today.

The report outlines findings into the progress and development of employee owned cooperatives that can help to deliver local services.

We found the committee’s recommendations to transform the “shape, responsiveness and quality of local service delivery” both thorough and useful.

We particularly see the case for improving co-ordination between the Government Mutuals Support programme, the Department for Communities and Local Government, and the Local Government Association to better facilitate evidence gathering and dissemination around the operation of mutuals and co-operatives in delivering local services.  Councils we are working with are active in seeking experiences from elsewhere and in sharing their own learning.

Our experience also confirms the report’s good-thinking in ensuring that authorities should use their commissioning and oversight processes to prevent service fragmentation and protect local public assets.

Furthermore, we agree with the acknowledgement that the Cabinet Office programme to promote the use of employee owned mutuals could be more closely linked to localism reforms and we know several councils who are trying to do that.

As part of our written evidence submitted for the report, OPM stated: “The potential benefits of staff-led mutuals are about innovation and productivity, relationships with service users or community stakeholders, and social responsibility…As such new mutuals need to be able to build their independence and their own business development capability…We should all be in this for the long term”.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

How CCGs can build leadership capacity

The traditional NHS model of top-down, hierarchical leadership is ill suited to the complex challenges facing new leaders in the reformed health service.

Those leading clinical commissioning groups in both clinical and managerial roles increasingly recognise that leadership in today’s NHS is first and foremost about helping others to lead: from GP colleagues and practice managers to patient groups.

Read the full article on the HSJ website.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Cutting the cost of care through connections

We know we are facing a demographic time bomb. The number of people in the UK aged over 85 has doubled since 1985. By 2021, there will be one million people with dementia, rising to 1.7 million in 2050.

The ‘Barnet graph of doom’ makes local authorities across the country tremble. What will happen if social care spending eats up all local authorities’ funding, and we still can’t meet the needs of a growing and increasingly-frail elderly population?

Read the full article on The Municipal Journal website.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Local communities can provide councils with a way out of a crisis

The question raised by Lord Heseltine’s growth report is how much councils can improve their own performance.

One answer is staring them in the face: councils need to rethink their concept of resources to encompass their own communities.

That isn’t a euphemism for press-ganging volunteers into doing everything. But when councils redesign services, they should take into account the full range of local assets available, including skills, knowledge and informal support networks.

Read the full article on The Guardian website.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Study into personal budgets finds encouraging results

One of the liveliest debates in social care at the moment concerns how personal budgets benefit different groups of people in different ways. Investigating this issue in Essex, we found that while personal budgets nearly always contribute to a positive experience for all, there was a marked difference in the benefits derived by older people compared to other users.

For more than three years, the Office for Public Management, in conjunction withEssex County Council and user-led disability organisation ecdp, has been working with social care users in Essex examining the impact of personal budgets on the lives of the people who use them. With the government wanting all those eligible to be on a personal budget by April 2013, there is a pressing need to understand the impact of personal budgets and how best to support people in using them.

Read the full article on The Guardian website.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Into the patient pathway

Assessment and care planning for a healthy life after cancer is urgent.

Macmillan Cancer Support with the National Cancer Survivorship Initiative have developed the concept of health and wellbeing clinics in response to this need.

The clinics provide information and services for patients making the shift from treatment to life after cancer, enabling them to better manage aftercare.

Read the full article on the Health Service Journal website