At the end of last month Ian Winter, the new lead for the Winterbourne View Joint Improvement Programme (following Chris Bull’s departure), attended the North East provider event jointly hosted by ARC and NETS(work) in Middlesbrough.

Following a welcome and introduction from Chris Shrubb, CEO of Edward Lloyd Trust and Chair of NETS(work), Nick Ball, Development Manager of NETS(work), set out the agenda for day. Designed to be interactive, the day was an opportunity for providers to learn from Ian about the best practice taking place across England, to share their experiences and to add their voice to the heart of the post Winterbourne process and to try to have some influence on the big picture.

Addressing an audience of providers from nearly 20 organisations, all of whom were committed to working with commissioners, service users and their families, to develop good quality community-based solutions for people,  Ian gave an update on the progress made delivering the concordat, placing particular focus on the things that he believes really matter at the heart of the programme, namely::

  • people with a Learning Disability who are currently in Treatment and Assessment Centres
  • cultural weaknesses within commissioning,
  • provider training, and
  • wider policies that result in crisis management at all levels.

Ian was also keen to emphasise the core principle to the Winterbourne View Improvement Programme – which could only be successfully delivered through local partnerships.

Stocktake Review Update

Ian reminded people that the LGA and NHS England had published the ‘Stocktake of progress report’ on 17 October 2013

The stocktake – essentially a questionnaire – has been sent to all 152 health and wellbeing board areas as an integral part of the Joint Improvement Programme (WVJIP). The purpose of the stocktake has been to baseline the current situation and enable all local areas to assess their progress against commitments laid out in the Winterbourne View Concordat.

Ian also encouraged people to use the stocktake to:

  • identify and share relevant good practice and progress from local areas
  • assist in local discussions between commissioners, the people who use services, family carers and advocacy organisations, as well as providers.

A further aim of the stocktake has been to help local areas identify what development support they might require from the WVJIP. These covered 11 key areas:

  • Models of partnership
  • Understanding the money
  • Case management for individuals
  • Current review programme
  • Safeguarding
  • Commissioning arrangements
  • Developing local teams and services
  • Prevention and crisis response capacity
  • Understanding the population who may need/receive services
  • Children and adults transition planning
  • Current and future market requirements and capacity

Ian was keen that NETS(work) and ARC should share the progress and good practice identified and he acknowledged that provider engagement was vital if the service changes that must take place by June 2014 following the Winterbourne View Review are to happen.

The Current Situation

As reported in the stocktake, progress has been made, but the meeting also focused in on areas of key concern. These included:

  • improving whole life course planning and, given the 2014 deadline, ensuring people have real, community-based, quality and safe alternatives,
  • the need to rapidly improve engagement, understanding, and joint working across the various commissioning functions (ie. specialist, forensic and health and social care).

The need for sectors to work better together, to achieve longer term sustainable solutions, was highlighted by members of the group – all of whom expressed a commitment to working together to develop real person-centred approaches to support, housing and care. Highlighted in the ensuing discussion was was the need for community based health support, as well  as concern over a lack of investment, particularly in behavioural support and community-based accommodation options to enable safe and local support services.

How ‘the money follows the person’, or, indeed, doesn’t follow individuals, and the need for better integration and use of funds was identified as a priority by both ARC and NETS(work) members; including building the capacity of providers to develop local solutions as real alternatives to current and future provision.

In summary, Ian stressed the importance of the Improvement Board’s work with providers. Results from the stocktake show that 93% of localities are progressing market intelligence/market development with their local providers and that many have already concluded a provider analysis. However, he also understood that this needed to better reflect local provision and create innovative ways of building local capacity and provider development.

He acknowledged that relationships between commissioners and providers do vary, but also that much can be learned when the relationship flourishes and works wells. Ian identified NETS(work) as an example of good practice and was keen for such progress to continue and be replicated, offering to support further work in the North East. With much still to be done he stressed that he and his team would continue to support regions and localities in developing more collaborative commissioning approaches that meet the needs of people both now and also in the future.

With the future in mind, David Shipman of Durham County Council suggested a follow-on meeting. ARC, NETS(work) and the WVJIP are busy pursuing that outcome.