Thursday, March 15, 2018
The South West London Sustainability and Transformation Plan (STP)
Public engagement on the South West London Sustainability and Transformation Plan
The NHS in south west London, working with local councils, is in the process of developing a long-term plan for local health services, called the Five Year Forward Plan, or a Sustainability and Transformation Plan (STP). This work is being carried out by six local Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs), local authorities, four hospitals trusts, clinicians, community health services and mental health trusts and patients and members of the public. The six south west London boroughs are Croydon, Kingston, Merton, Richmond, Sutton and Wandsworth.
Since March 2016, the NHS has been undertaking a grassroots outreach engagement programme, funded by NHS England, to reach out to seldom heard communities. The NHS provided funding to local grassroots organisations to run events that were enjoyable to their populations, and then attended to listen to views on local health issues. The funding was allocated via local healthwatch organisations that promoted the opportunity, evaluated the bids and administered the funding. In addition, OPM Group was commissioned to design, facilitate and report on six open access health and care forums, one in each of the six south west London Boroughs.
OPM Group produced two reports providing a summary of the feedback from all this engagement activity, organised by work stream theme and by Local Transformation Board (LTB) area. This feedback will be used to inform the future development of the STP.
Thursday, March 1, 2018
Greater London Authority – Stepping Stones Evaluation
The transition from primary to secondary school is a period of significant change in the lives of young people. Many children embrace and adapt to this change, particularly when they are well supported by parents, families and school. There is, however, a significant minority of students who experience uncertainty, risk, and anxiety around transition, or who are not equipped with the necessary skillset to navigate this change successfully.
The Stepping Stones pilot programme was launched by the GLA for the 2016/17 academic year and was aimed at vulnerable young people considered at risk during the transition from primary to secondary school. The programme was designed to secure improvements in attendance; educational attainment; and behaviour within school, through a range of engagement activities and peer mentoring support.
OPM Group was commissioned by the GLA to evaluate the pilot programme, to provide evidence of what works and why in supporting the transition from primary to secondary school for vulnerable young people. Download our evaluation report and executive summary to learn about the findings from our evaluation.
In addition to our evaluation report, we also produced a toolkit of resources, video case studies and information to help schools implement Stepping Stones in the future. The toolkit can be found here: www.london.gov.uk/stepping-stones
Wednesday, February 7, 2018
NSIP Event 2018
One of our Principals, Lucy Farrow, will be talking at the Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects event today.
She is discussing how Dialogue by Design (part of OPM Group) became the UK’s leading provider for Consultation and Engagement for infrastructure projects. We have worked on some of the UK’s highest profile projects and have delivered over 20 NSIP consultations.
Thursday, December 21, 2017
Evaluation of the Essex County Council’s Family Innovation Fund
Increasing financial pressures on Local Authorities have seen Early Intervention services deprioritised and under-funded. This has left a gap in service for those families who do not qualify for statutory or specialist services but who do need support.
There is now a body of evidence to support the argument that meeting the needs of these children, young people and families at the earliest opportunity will develop the resilience and self-efficacy needed for good outcomes. As a result, there could be a reduction in demand and therefore financial benefit for a range of public services such as Social Care, Education, Health and Police.
The Family Innovation Fund (FIF) was launched in Essex in 2015 and was designed to provide Early Help interventions and support for children, young people and parents/carers with low level additional needs.
OPM Group was commissioned by ECC to evaluate the FIF programme, to provide practice-based evidence for what works in Early Help, and to provide the economic case for further investment.
Download our interactive report here to learn about the findings at the end of this two-year evaluation. Note this document has active functionality – please download via the icon top right:
Monday, August 14, 2017
Demonstrating the impact and value of vision rehabilitation – a Report to the RNIB
Vision rehabilitation services are crucial to ensuring blind and partially sighted people remain as independent as possible. Now, new independent research commissioned by RNIB, with support from the Department of Health, has identified that the cost of providing vision rehabilitation services is dwarfed by the financial benefits.
Independent research by the Office for Public Management (OPM), based on a case study of services provided by Sight for Surrey has shown that the financial benefits of good vision rehabilitation services significantly outweigh the actual costs of delivering this service. In fact in the case study site, over £3.4 million of health and social care costs were avoided, reduced or deferred annually based on a service which cost an estimated £900,000 a year to deliver.
Building on the work of our See, Plan and Provide campaign, we are now working to ensure that commissioners or those making decisions understand the economic value of providing effective vision rehabilitation services and the long term costs avoided, reduced or deferred for the health and social care system.
Thursday, July 20, 2017
Case Study: Exploratory research project on the 1290 expulsion of the Jews from England for the Migration Museum Project
The Migration Museum Project (MMP) are planning a new London-based exhibition in September 2017 called “No Turning Back.” The UK charity, which aims to create a museum on migration for Britain, is working with volunteer researchers on six different moments of significance in Britain’s migration past and present to build their knowledge of these moments and develop a public exhibit that is accessible to all ages and a range of audiences.
OPM Group’s Corporate Responsibility Working Group (CRWG) volunteered to contribute to this exploratory research with the MMP. Research on one moment, “The 1290 Expulsion of the Jews from England” began in March 2017 and was completed in June 2017.
OPM Group provided a team of eight volunteer researchers to gather data and manage the collection of facts, images and stories relating to one of six moments the MMP will feature in “No Turning Back”. For the research, we also identified key artists and experts for the MMP to gain additional insight and resources. Volunteer researchers used Google searching and contacts established through the MMP to develop an initial scoping of extant information on the moment.
We then wrote an interim report for the MMP and received guidance on areas for further exploration from the its research and curatorial leads. Volunteer researchers completed additional research on the moment and a final report was submitted to the MMP in June 2017.
Our detailed and accessible report has allowed the MMProject to incorporate an exhibit on the 1290 expulsion of the Jews because of the information we collected. The MMP is pleased with the result of this voluntary work:
“Thank you so much for all your hard work on our account and for your beautifully presented and detailed document. It has helped us a great deal, saved us a huge amount of time and we would never have managed this without you. I hope we can do you justice in the final exhibition.” – Museum Curator.
Wednesday, July 12, 2017
Social Impact Bonds are not a magic bullet, but they can be useful
On 6 July 2017, we delivered a webinar on the Life Chances Fund (LCF) and Social Impact Bonds (SIBs) timed to raise awareness of the latest LCF call-out. As an independent public interest organisation, we are not in the market to “sell SIBs”. Instead, our mission is squarely on working with public services to enhance social impact.
Despite SIBs having been around since 2010, there is still a relatively low level of awareness. I have written elsewhere about how myths and misunderstandings abound in the context of a lack of transparency and limited, albeit improving, learning and sharing. I have also argued elsewhere that an innovation, such as SIBs, may be abandoned because of dissatisfaction with early versions of it, which may not have fulfilled the creative potential that may be on offer.
We maintain that SIBs are not a magic bullet. Nonetheless, we believe they have value particularly when considered as part of a wider suite of responses to financing and delivering public services.
Those interested in the LCF should not start with the position of: “I want to do a SIB”. If all we have is a hammer, then everything looks like a nail that needs pounding. We should start with clarity over the problem we are trying to solve. Work is then needed to explore whether the potential solution is amenable to outcomes contracting. Where the issue at hand lends itself to being tackled through an outcomes-based commissioning approach, we then need to consider whether social investment adds value or whether there are other more appropriate ways of financing and delivering an outcomes contract.
While not exhaustive, we present three reasons for why and when SIBs may make sense for commissioners.
- The space to innovate – When budgets are tight, there can be aversion to taking risk. New, untested, interventions may be overlooked as the risk of failure is high. Commissioners do not want to be seen as ‘gambling’ on things that prove not to work. Under a SIB model, the financial risk of failure is transferred onto social investors. Commissioners only pay for outcomes, and not for failure. In this way, SIBs can be seen as one way of protecting the space to innovate.
- Driving efficiency – With established services, there may be less inclination to adopt a SIB approach. There is, however, emerging evidence from evaluations that SIBs can drive higher levels of outcomes even for proven interventions. Of course, it is still too early to conclude that SIBs always drive higher performance, and more evaluations are needed. Nonetheless, if this early finding is true, then SIBs can be said to drive greater efficiency in existing interventions. Process evaluations report consistently that the SIB model, by aligning incentives, encourages commissioners, providers and social investors to work together and ‘pull in the same direction’. Where they work best, SIBs have been shown to have helped join up the ‘different worlds’ by breaking down institutional and cultural barriers to effective partnership working.
- Availability of top-up funds – At this point in time, the £80million LCF represents a time-limited window of opportunity for commissioners to tap into additional funds to help pay for outcomes. With top-up contributions from the LCF typically around 20 per cent of the overall financial value of outcomes, commissioners stand to ‘keep more of what they save’. This top-up contribution is obviously meant as a ‘sweetener’ for more commissioners to engage with SIBs. However, just to portray it as such is to oversimplify things. SIB funds like the LCF, its predecessor the Commissioning Better Outcomes Fund, and others, perform a more important function of helping to break down commissioning silos. There is clear recognition that many of the social issues that SIBs have been deployed to help solve are entrenched and cross-cutting. For example, tackling alcohol dependency not only has implications for the use of health and social care services, but also for housing, criminal justice agencies, etc. Working out ‘who pays and who saves’ can be hugely challenging, and can stand in the way of effective co-commissioning. Many have argued, nonetheless, that top-up funds like the LCF are not sustainable over the longer term. In the meantime, they do provide the opportunity for at least testing out different models of co-commissioning. It is of interest to note that there are already efforts underway to develop SIBs that do not rely on top-up funds. It will be important for learning from these efforts to be shared more widely.
In conclusion, I reiterate the importance of being clear about the rationale for developing a SIB. For commissioners, this is especially pertinent as there are a range of alternatives for raising capital, some more cheaply than others. There needs to be a clear case for using public monies under a SIB model, with effective communication around how SIBs can add value.
Dr Chih Hoong Sin, Director, Innovation and Social Investment
Additional video and interactive content is available via the Webinar Webex site here. Note – it is best to access using Chrome or Firefox.
Tuesday, June 20, 2017
Accelerated Non-Medical Endoscopist Training Programme – Year 1 Evaluation (Report to Health Education England)
The Office for Public Management (OPM) was commissioned by Health Education England (HEE) to conduct an evaluation of the Non-Medical Endoscopist (NME) accelerated training pilot. The NME training pilot aimed to recruit and successfully train 40 NMEs across two cohorts. The first cohort started the programme in late January 2016 and the second cohort started the programme in mid-April 2016.
The evaluation aimed to produce both formative and summative findings about the impact and effectiveness of the training pilot. The evaluation activities consisted of:
- A literature review to understand training outcomes and process learnings from comparable training programmes.
- Interviews with trainees, their supervisors and their mentors from across the two cohorts.
- A survey of Cohort 1 trainees and supervisors and mentors following completion of the NME programme.
- Face-to-face interviews with a sample of patients who received an endoscopy from a NME trainee.
- Analysis of management information and training data.
- Observation at various programme activities, including the second selection day in London, two of the taught study days held in London and Liverpool and a Basic Skills Course.
- Ongoing interviews with programme Faculty members and stakeholders involved in developing and overseeing the programme.
Monday, June 12, 2017
Smart Cities Need Smart Consultations
Future Glasgow. Smart City Bristol. Digital Birmingham. Pilot smart city projects are growing exponentially across the UK – and we’re barely keeping pace with the rest of the world (In 2014 India announced a plan to build 100 smart cities). However, while big data and small technology is enabling us to design our infrastructure to be more efficient, responsive, and environmentally friendly, it’s unclear as to whether we’re able to envision the social impact of these changes.
In many cases, Smart City planning is informed by the latest methodology in service design. Traditional methods of “let’s plan it and then ask what people think” have been replaced by human-centred design methodology and co-creation approaches. End-users are involved throughout the process. Nesta’s “Rethinking Smart Cities from the Ground Up” emphasises the need for collaborative technology and a focus on human behaviour. owever, these
In this sense, Smart Cities should be more people-centred than any other kind of urban planning previously undertaken.
However, while citizens may be involved in the design of a project, that doesn’t mean that there is a common understanding – or even any understanding – of what some of the overall impacts of Smart Cities and SMACT (Social, Mobile, Analytics, Cloud, Internet of Things) technologies might be in terms of quality of life and citizen well-being.
Those implementing and affected by traditional infrastructure and public policy projects are well-versed in communicating the balance of impacts of a project and asking for public feedback. Changes to health services, noise impacts from new roads, or threats to ancient woodland – while they can be complex – are familiar topics for people to digest and offer opinions on. In many ways, the whole idea of Smart Cities is to make all of these things better. If technology is enabling everything to be quieter, cleaner, and safer then what could the negative impacts be?
Nobody really knows the answer to that question, but we can take some guesses at what important considerations could be:
- Increased automation results in a reduction in day-to-day personal contact and increased isolation and loneliness;
- An unrelenting need for personal data in the name of responsiveness and efficiency leaves individuals and communities vulnerable to an erosion of personal privacy and self-determination and raises problems for democracy as a whole;
- Increased reliance on OS systems makes cities more vulnerable to sharp shocks – whether through systems failure, crime, or terrorism; and
- A departure from the creative chaos and diversity of organic cities that gives a city personality and identity. In the words of Adam Greenfield, author of Against the Smart City ‘it erodes the development of savoir faire; it eliminates the risk, but also everything wonderful, that arises in the confrontation with difference.’
These potential impacts are relatively intangible, and difficult to imagine, but we need to make more of a concerted effort to start doing that. While there are some sophisticated solutions (such as creating an interactive AI simulations for people to experience), it’s unlikely that these are going to be within the budget of a local authority any time soon.
There is a challenge for organisations passionate about embedding local voice within policy decisions and infrastructure development to shape the future of Smart City consultations. How might we best help city-dwellers understand how their lives could change in the next 10 or 15 years and articulate their opinions on that? How might we design creative, open engagement and consultation solutions which enable frank discussions around possible impacts? And how can we ensure that these comments and opinions are fed into the Smart City movement to ensure that our future cities are fully human, and not just “smart”?
These are some of the questions we enjoy wrestling with at the OPM Group. Through our work with the FLOURISH project on autonomous vehicles, with the Arts Council England on Envisioning Libraries of the Future and in the health sector with simulation of future events we’ve become ever more interested in considering how to engage members of the public in possible futures. We believe that evolving Smart Cities is the next crucial area for effective engagement and consultation.
If you’re interested in joining these discussions – get in touch! Drop an email to Lucy Farrow firstname.lastname@example.org
Tuesday, June 6, 2017