Our response to the NAO's report exploring pressures on children’s social care
I recently joined iMPOWER as a health advisor following my retirement as Chief Executive of Norfolk County Council, so part of getting to know one another I wanted to share some early thoughts.
Well as you would probably expect I have known about the company for quite a few years and I’ve watched and indeed admired iMPOWER’s progress. The company certainly has a great profile in local government. Consequently I was delighted to be asked to become a part time advisor as I believe there is real fit between our values and ways of working. Having spent almost 40 years in the public sector, nearly 19 as a Chief Executive, I knew when I retired I did not want to ‘walk away’ entirely but still wanted to keep my hand in a little, not as an executive, more on the advisory side. Given that public services is well and truly in my blood – my father was a priest and my mother a nurse – I was keen to share my skills and experience with the ‘right ’kind of consultancy firm, one that puts people first.
In my time I hired with varying degrees of success, many consultancies of different shapes and sizes and whilst each have had something to offer some have now in my view failed to fully adapt to the current drastically changed, harsher resourced and constrained public sector environment. Today, with more demanding, often cash strapped clients, value for money and tailor made solutions, rather than ‘off the peg’ products, have become the norm. This is where I believe iMPOWER comes into it’s own in really trying to understand what the client is seeking to achieve, offering a bespoke service and delivering this in a collegiate co-produced and sustainable manner.
Although I will in future blogs talk more specifically about health and health and social care integration I just want to make a more general point which is prompted by Alex’s recent blog- ‘The Paradox of Integration Reform’. In my time, often as part of a wider transformation programme, I’ve led many large scale reorganisations of complex public facing organisations, in both times of financial growth and contraction. From this experience one thing I have learnt, time and again, is that whilst structural change may well be a key ingredient for success, of itself it is really insufficient.
At the heart of any organisational change must be a comprehensive approach to organisational development, which well and truly captures staff imagination and gains their buy in. As an aside whilst leading a transformational £140million cost reduction programme I was delighted in my last job to have achieved a top 10% ipsos-mori ranking for private and public sector regarding employee engagement and satisfaction. This is the role of any leader – to turn staff on and despite their often personal uncertainty still manage to improve staff productivity and motivation to the cause.
And so what I am particularly interested in is in people and behaviour change- organisational culture if you like. This clearly is one of the attractions in joining iMPOWER. Both in terms of (a) how staff are valued in the company – I must say I really have been made to feel very welcome and certainly feel at home with the informal but purposeful approach to business – and (b) of course iMPOWER’s offer to potential clients.
The ground breaking research undertaken in the Home Truths Programme, showing the disproportionate impact that GPs have in an older person’s care decisions really chimes with my own experiences. Throughout my social work career I witnessed the impact that the behaviours and opinions of different professional and occupational groups could have in drastically affect placement outcomes.
Using the Home Truths work as a platform I’m extremely confident that we will soon be opening new doors in health, as we offer fresh perspectives and insights. Putting the patient at the heart and really focussing on their needs whilst offering more cost effective solutions across the artificial boundaries of health and social care is what we are about. There is all to play for given the current national push for integration. More of this I hope in future blogs…
David White is a Health Advisor at iMPOWER. To contact him to discuss this blog please email email@example.com or call 020 7017 8030.