Since September 2014, the Centre has worked with a number of department leaders on projects to develop a successful approach to information sharing in Bath and North East Somerset (B&NES), using learning from national initiatives and other local places that have undertaken similar transformations.
Created in 1996, Bath & North East Somerset Council serves a population of 175,000 residents and employs 6,500 members of staff. Its key partners are Avon & Somerset Police and Fire & Rescue Services, the Clinical Commissioning Group, Sirona Health & Care, Curo Housing Group and a range of voluntary, education and business community representatives.
The council provides high quality services at one of the lowest costs per head of population in the country, while demonstrating continuing improvement. It has recently restructured its departments into a tripartite model with responsibilities for people and communities, place and resources.
There are a number of interconnected areas of transformation which have been planned to meet this vision. These include reducing domestic violence, promoting sustainable employment, supporting financial resilience, encouraging health and social care integration, and continuing to develop its successful Connecting Families service.
Some of these workstreams are being supported by the Public Service Transformation Network and others. All have a strong focus on a connected workforce liberated to ‘thinking big’ to meet current and future challenges.
Through its Public Services Board, the council, with its key partners, has developed a new 2020 vision (see above) in a joint response to current challenges. The board is responsible for strategic oversight of all their local partnership arrangements, and seeks to improve efficiency and effectiveness in the way they work.
- We aim to uncover and understand what is limiting good information sharing in B&NES
- We want to help B&NES shift the cultural mindsetof its organisation in order to overcome its information sharing challenges
- We will share what we have learned with other places and a range of national organisations by publishing regular progress reports, case studies, local / national media articles and blogs of our work with B&NES
- Through capturing and disseminating evidenceof B&NES’ information sharing journey, we will help the place to influence regional and national conversations about their vision of transformed local public services.
The aim of the review was to safeguard children, adults and victims of domestic abuse. Alongside its work on recording domestic violence data better, process mapping workshops by B&NES also identified concerns amongst partners that people with low to medium safeguarding needs are often not identified early enough by the current safeguarding systems. As a result, B&NES intends to share ‘low level intelligence’ more effectively within a MASH.
Two project leads with specialisms in children and adult social care have now been appointed to plan the implementation of the MASH. The Centre’s director and engagement staff regularly attend board meetings to support conversations with partners about the strategic direction of these multi-agency arrangements, both at a local and regional level.
Engagement managers from the Centre have also visited Somerset’s MASH, to inform discussions about which issues the MASH needs to focus on to improve intelligence sharing. The board held an information sharing workshop for partners later in the summer of 2015, which the Centre helped to facilitate.
The sharing of this information has enabled key workers to understand the bigger picture of the problems faced by a family, and provide a coordinated package of support that helps them overcome these problems.
Watch the film that B&NES developed, demonstrating their work in this area.
The Centre is also supporting B&NES to develop an enhanced version of its existing welfare support service, in order to help more people back to work.
Having trialled the new approach over the summer, assessment officers from the welfare support team were transferred to the Connecting Families service from September 2015. The Centre has run a full day workshop to help staff design a robust triage and assessment process for welfare support claimants, and accompanied service leads on a visit to Melton Borough Council’s Me & My Learning programme, to understand how they overcame similar information sharing barriers.
We have provided the Board with research on different MASH models, to enable and encourage learning from successful implementation elsewhere, presenting findings from a number of other similar models at a stakeholders’ engagement workshop in September. B&NES also attended the MASH workshop which we ran in April 2015 as part of the Home Office research work.
The Centre supported DWP plans to increase co-location of Job Centre staff within the One Stop Shops in Bath and Keynsham, based on semi-structured interviews with key service managers to capture barriers and progress. We have disseminated learning about the Connecting Families approach to overcoming information sharing issues during the development of their service, leading to a proposal to deliver a workshop to Welfare Support staff to help the team develop a consistent approach to triaging clients. This workshop was successfully delivered in November, with a B&NES triage workshop
Workshop 15 April 2015
- Connecting Families group exercise for staff workshop
- Connecting Families workshop case study part one
- Connecting Families workshop case study part two
- Connecting Families workshop full case study
- Connecting Families Workshop full case study – diagram
Workshop 11 November 2015
Further updates will be posted here as these plans develop, so keep returning to learn more.
“We are proud of what we have achieved together as One Council – doing it our way”
Council Leader & CEO