I hope at least some of you get the Sesame Street reference!
Thanks to the Bank Holiday, this week has only been a short one, but nevertheless I have managed to get out and about in order to see in more detail what is happening in (two!) local places.
In Leicestershire, the Multi Agency Information Sharing Hub (MASH) has been successfully working with the ‘Supporting Leicestershire Families’ programme for a while now. But the MASH service is now going to support a new work and skills programme in one of Leicestershire’s districts – Melton Borough Council’s ‘Me and My Learning’ project. The project, which aims to help 500 people in its first phase, aims to provide a ‘wraparound’ service to improve employment chances. Having a consistent picture of which agencies already help support an individual will mean that they can be referred more effectively to the right services at the right time, without asking the individual to repeat their story over and over again. This is a really exciting development and I will be watching their progress over the coming months with a great deal of interest.
Then in Chester, Cheshire West and Chester council spent the day sharing their experiences around designing and delivering their Integrated Early Support service. This is a coordinated approach to dealing with children, families and domestic violence, using a single key worker approach, a team around the family, informed by a comprehensive understanding of issues within the family in the form of a 360 degree profile. Attendees came from all over the UK to hear about developing the partnership and approach, delivering and commissioning more effectively, and measuring the impact for professionals, and for service users. Cheshire West had been so inundated with requests to learn more about their approach, that (supported by the Public Service Transformation Network and Early Intervention Foundation) they decided to run a day-long event to help as many people as possible in one go. It also had the happy coincidence of bringing together a range of people from all over the country who are interested in all aspects of Cheshire’s model: I chatted to Troubled Family coordinators and social care managers, but also accountants, academics and economic development specialists. We will be working with Cheshire to develop a case study of the information sharing side of their approach, so look out for that soon.
So that’s the Sesame Street number. But why the letter T? Well, talking to people from Melton and Cheshire, the thing which has made their work possible is trust. Having strong partnerships has made it possible for each place to develop a shared vision for what can be achieved: independence, improved wellbeing, better lives. The vision has driven new ways of working, where services are tailored to meet the needs of individuals and families, and where multi-agency working has become a reality. Information is being shared, to make that possible, in a way that reduces the burden on service users, protects their privacy, and uses our limited public money more effectively. But all of this depends on trust: between our organisations’ leaders, between all the professionals who work in this new way, and in the relationships between service users and public agencies.