2. System Interventions
The most positive approach to demonstrating avoidable demand in the system is through a ‘test and learn’ approach. We have drawn evidence from system interventions in seven councils across each key intervention point, including: helpdesk and front door; pre- assessment and assessment conversations; short term support planning; and review and reassessment. Each system intervention varied in scope and scale, with one covering 22,500 customer interactions in three months.
Adult social care helpdesk interventions typically focus on increasing the proportion of queries resolved at the initial contact stage through expert engagement, high quality signposting, strengths-based questioning, and innovative problem solving. In one council, introducing a behavioural science-led training programme and toolkit increased the resolution rate at this stage in the customer journey by up to 18%. In another council, staff assessed that had they already implemented the revised approach, some 47% of client contacts would have had a different outcome.
Where there has been a focus on changing the initial conversation with new entrants to the social care system, there has been a 50% reduction in the number of people requiring a needs assessment. Instead of formal assessment, these individuals have been directed towards community initiatives and preventative services, which both promoted their independence and reduced the cost to the council.
By setting up reviews and reassessments as a different type of conversation which focuses on identifying the desired outcome and then flexibly planning to meet it, this system intervention led to a social worker-reported shift in outcome in 84% of new cases , and 36% of cases reviewed.