Living and breathing the Personalisation Journey

What does success look like? At the beginning of our journey seven months ago we identified thirteen success indicators that we felt would be good ways to measure how successful we would be. Some concerned Anne-Marie directly, some concerned all of the people living in the house, some the staff team and the rest concerned organisational development and learning.

Last week we had our final meeting of our project group and during the day we reflected on our work generally and specifically reviewed our progress against the thirteen indicators. On reflection the term rollercoaster may be a better description than journey!

It's been clear for some time now that it's been really hard work for the manager and the team locally. Our reflections highlighted a number of areas where if we had done things differently it might have been a smoother ride - but isn't that what doing new things is designed to highlight? Ironically, many of criteria which at the outset we anticipated would be the hardest have proved in reality to be relatively easier than expected whilst some we felt would be straightforward proved anything but.

The most rewarding part of our last day was concluding that the seven (out of our thirteen) criteria that directly concerned Anne-Marie and concerned choice and control over her life were those where we had the clearest evidence of success and they were:

  • Anne Marie has a personalised service
  • Anne Marie chooses her staff and is in control of her rota
  • Anne Marie has planned time in her community
  • Anne Marie is taking more positive risks and doing what she wants
  • Anne Marie's chosen support is not negatively impacted by people she lives with
  • The family understands and support the change
  • Anne Marie is closer to her dreams and aspirations.

Looking back on these success factors we can say that all these are now true for Anne Marie. Some of what the initiatives and changes that have been achieved have been fantastic. This project has had a really positive impact in all seven areas for Anne Marie and at the end of the day, that's what really counts.

The next, and harder, challenge is how we apply our learning - about what worked and what didn't work this time round on a broader basis for our other services. Our challenge, against the backdrop of a volatile sector and constant change, is going to be convincing established staff teams to accept these changes are permanent and not a big new idea that will not stand the test of time. That means we've got to get this way of supporting people into our organisational DNA.

In conclusion, having seen measurable increases in interaction with local communities, experienced people making clear and uncomfortable choices about who they don't want supporting them and those choices being respected, it is clear that even living in a traditional service does not mean personalisation cannot become a reality.


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