Today we launch a new joint report with the Coalition of Care and Support Providers (CCPS) in Scotland that explores the impact of collaboration within the Scottish social care market and offers a practical tool for organisations looking to turn collaborative ambition into action — the Collaborative Providers Index.

Collaborative Providers Index.

The challenges facing social care are well-documented. Demand is increasing, resources are reducing and people are looking for more choice and control over the support they use to live their lives. The evidence from our research also shows that current systems, processes and relationships do not always encourage or enable organisations and people to do their best work.

In our 2014 report with CCPS, From Providers to Partners, Collaborate found that meeting these challenges could only be done through working better together — harnessing the resources and innovation of the whole system. The report called on the sector to move away from competition towards collaboration. Changes to legislation and policy in Scotland have very much set the scene for collaborative relationships between commissioners, providers, supported people and communities, but the challenge remains — how do we actually do it?

In this new report we present a story of third sector providers of social care collaborating to focus on person-centred care and support. We call these ‘Provider Collaborations’, and we present what we have learned about how these work; what difference they make; and the conditions required for them to flourish.

The report makes enlightening reading for organisations across the UK and demonstrates that collaborations between a range of providers of care and support are succeeding in two crucial ways. They:

  • Put people front and centre of planning and (re)designing support
  • Provide an effective route to delivering on wider public service transformation goals

The report offers insights drawn from four collaborations: City Ambition Network, Inverclyde Connections, Fair Deal/Support for Ordinary Living Collaboration and Making Recovery Real Dundee, offering in-depth analysis across the models of key strengths and identifying areas requiring greater attention from wider stakeholders:

By coordinating and collaborating, the partners in the collaborations we studied were able to offer a far more personalised and varied response to support offered than could have been possible otherwise — improving outcomes immeasurably. As one provider says:

“We set up with one vision in mind: to focus on the person — this is our purpose and vision.”

This point is a great cause for celebration, offering an alternative way of organising resources and the sector’s strong professional and co-production skills to create better outcomes at a time when cuts are really starting to bite. But we also found these models were delivering on a range of key policy agendas in Scotland, including an increased focus on prevention, partnership working, place and person-centred support, as outlined in the Christie Commission. In this way they are testing many of the technical and cultural challenges facing Health and Social Care Partnerships across the country as they work through wholesale service transformation.

Collaborate are continuing to work with our supporters in Scottish Government on a series of recommendations, which we hope can further strengthen the conditions for collaborative working in the care and support sector in Scotland and spread the impact to more people across the country.

To learn more about this report and Collaborate’s work with CCPS in Scotland please contact Annabel Davidson-Knight.

The Scottish Health Secretary, Jeane Freeman, said about the report:

The Scottish Government is committed to doing all we can to help those working in social services and healthcare, local organisations and communities work together to support people to live independently for as long as possible. This report details how vital this collaboration is and gives very helpful examples from across Scotland. It provides important information that everyone across care can learn from.