We’ve been thinking a lot lately about services and service delivery. Who tells organisations how to deliver services? The commissioner, funder or service specification? The organisation’s senior team or manager? The service users?
Often organisations have been delivering services in a certain way for long periods of time and this delivery becomes convenient, acceptable, predictable and comfortable.
So, how do you stay at the forefront of practice whilst meeting service specifications, listening and responding to service user needs and delivering a sustainable service?
One of the answers is to spend more time considering approaches to delivery rather than the nuts and bolts of delivery itself.
To begin with, ‘what’s your philosophy?’
Not just your organisation’s mission statement, but your mission statement on the issue the service is trying to address, your service users’ ambitions and your shared goals.
And then, ‘what does the research say?’
Apparently we’ve all had enough of experts but in the field of support, education and transformation there is some outstandingly well-evidenced research into the best approaches for supporting people.
Finally, ‘how do we design it?’
Notice this is not ‘how do we deliver it?’ We know how to deliver services, how to do the nuts and bolts; rota staff, keep people safe, submit reports. But do we know how to design and redesign services? Not just become passive recipients of broad-brush service specifications or the inheritors of historic or assumed practice.
We have to build a design framework – think theory of change but juicier and more specific – and look under the rug for detail, evidence of effectiveness, simple but effective feedback loops and authentic service user input and co-design opportunities.
So why am I writing all this?
Because this is a journey that we are on right now. Trying to redefine how we deliver services – in this case in support and accommodation – through developing and re-thinking our approaches.
Rather than describing our service delivery, our aim is to develop our service approach, perhaps something like:
Our approach is to create a psychologically informed environment using client specific models including cognitive analytical therapy, adverse childhood trauma and relationship based training to inform asset based support work alongside a skills programme incorporating personal development, training, employment & education, life skills and resettlement.
Quite a mouthful but plenty to get our teeth into!