This article originally appeared in The MJ. Using a strengths-based approach helps people to live more independent lives and enables councils to achieve better outcomes for less.
Can you answer this question? Public services exist to make people’s lives better, and those working in or with public services (hopefully) care a lot about whether they are achieving that. For those working at the front line – such as care services staff, customer facing teams, social workers – the impact of their efforts is often tangible. Others, particularly those in back office services or who work ‘higher up’ in the organisation, can lose that connection.
As management consultants we feel even further removed. That is a particular challenge for us at IMPOWER because a key part of our aim is to ‘increase the quality of citizens’ lives’ by proving that better outcomes cost less. We therefore help our clients to measure improvements in outcome productivity – the achievement of better outcomes, with an overall increase in cost effectiveness – through tracking ‘primed metrics’. If created well, primed metrics can be energising and empowering both for those at the front line (every interaction is a chance to improve a life, which clearly links their contact with citizens to their organisation’s purpose), and those further away.
One of our major campaigns is the Valuing Independence campaign. Through this we are aiming to boost independence for 100,000 people, by eradicating unnecessary demand in social care. The councils we are working with are collecting the statistics of those impacted locally through our work together. We have decided to publish the aggregated figure as it is validated – check our Valuing Independence totaliser to find out the current number. Calculating this is complicated and we have invested time in developing a robust methodology; please get in touch if you would like to know more.