The Neighbourhood Cares Pilot aims to introduce new ways of delivering adult social care. Using Buurtzorg principles, CCC introduced teams in St Ives and Soham to provide care in which families and communities play a key role in keeping adults and older people independent into old age. Teams have been in operation since Autumn 2017.
The teams provide preventative, flexible and responsive care and support which builds on natural community networks, assets and strengths to develop local solutions around adults and older people’s needs in a way they can relate to. The ultimate aims of the project are to help individuals maintain their independence and quality of life and be less reliant on – expensive – adult social care.
Inspired by the Buurtzorg model of small, local, self-managed teams, the St Ives and Soham teams consisted at first of a mix of mostly social workers and a nurse. They were asked to embed themselves in their localities, find a local base, and identify and work with people in need and local resources with a focus on prevention and early intervention.
We worked with the teams and the wider organisation to identify those elements of the Buurtzorg model that were applicable, realising that this pilot was a creative and unique way of delivering combined social work and care, rather than the community nursing and home care Buurtzorg typically is associated with.
Our support included providing the key skills to enable the teams to function effectively, empowered as self-managed groups of professionals. This included working alongside teams to develop meeting techniques, problem and conflict resolution using solution-focused methodologies, and quality assurance. We also worked with the Coach, equipping her to support the teams appropriately while leaving the responsibility for operational delivery with the teams. This involved training and ongoing remote support from a Buurtzorg coach in the Netherlands.
We also worked with CCC to review the framework in place between teams and Council and to streamline the support organisation surrounding the teams.
The teams have (self) recruited additional team members, and expansion into other localities is being considered. Formal evaluation of the pilot is a work in progress, but early results are very promising with residents, local support organisations (including GPs) and team members expressing huge enthusiasm for this way of working. The evaluation will need to demonstrate whether this has also reduced care needs overall.
Within the organisation, procedures have been streamlined as a result of the pilot; for example teams have been made responsible for needs assessments.
A wider review into the way adult social care is delivered in Cambridgeshire is already taking some of the Pilot’s learnings into account.