THE CLIENT: East Lothian Health and Social Care Partnership brings together the NHS and local authorities in areas such as caring for older people.
THE CHALLENGE FOR THE CLIENT: I delivered two projects for ELHSC. One was a review of a community alarms service, which resulted in increasing charges and revenue for the lifeline service, and the second was the introduction of an app to manage demand for Occupational Therapy Services.
The Challenge for Me
On the demand diversion app, I was asked to deliver a project which had badly stalled, and which was burning resource for no benefit for the partnership. I had to work with the app provider and staff at the ELHCP to review and agree their aim, their benefit measures and their confidence levels so we could get the app in use in East Lothian. I had to work with people in the target groups to tailor and test the app, which provides tailored assessment advice to users. Once re-energised, I had to focus the incumbent team on exploiting the app by ensuring it was widely publicised and promoted to East Lothian residents.
On the community alarm review, I was asked to work with a team who feared the review would damage their service and by extension their clients. I had to analyse the service’s costs against its income and produce an option appraisal. I had to work closely with elected members for the council to ensure they understood the case for increases, and then would be prepared to advocate for the changes in public and private. I also had to work with carers and their representatives, together with users of the community alarm system, to get their perspective and prepare them for the increased charges to be levied.
WHAT DID I DO?:On both, I created a coalition of interest to discuss and work through the challenges we encountered to successful resolutions.
THE COSTS: The self-care app was in the sub £100,000 category.
THE OUTCOME: The self care app smashed its usage targets, helping to ease pressure on waiting times. I delivered an increase in revenue for the council for the lifeline Community Alarm Scheme by ensuring the alarms were appropriately issued, charged for and administered.
What were the lessons learned?
1>If you are dependent on third parties, or contractors, to help your software be installed and maintained, ensure your client knows who is responsible for what! A linear responsibility chart or RACI chart is a must in complex projects. (RACI stands for Responsibile, Accountable, Consulted or Informed). Ensure every line in the project plan is clear as to who’s going it (responsible), who checks it’s been done (Accountable), it’s been done using the proper method (Consulted) and everyone on the project knows what it means, and when it will be completed. (Informed).
2>On the community alarm scheme, understanding the key drivers of the people involved was key in identifying the core problems around a reluctance to charge, and an over-prescription of community alarm packages to people for whom the units may have been beneficial but weren’t absolutely necessary.
3>On the community alarm scheme, building a true collaborative working spirit was particularly important when working with elected members who are publically accountable for the tough decisions they have to take.
4>Think about the metrics for the Business as Usual way before the end of the project. Stakeholders should be clear on the benefits they’re buying through a project and clear if they’re realising those benefits after the project stage is completed, and the new tool/ kit is in the business as usual environment.