Change and Transformation in the Public Sector
Like all areas across the country, the COVID-19 crisis further stretched Adult Social Care services within Oxfordshire. The pandemic required virtual working, which impacted team co-ordination; it exacerbated isolation and reactive care for older people and vulnerable adults, placing increasing demand on formal care services. Waiting lists got longer. Social care teams wanted to keep focused on person-centred ways of working, but the status of high alert made this difficult.
Adult Social Care leadership needed an innovative solution that would empower staff to use their professional judgement and work in partnership with local communities to better support people using their local strengths. From the residents’ perspective, anything that broke down the intra-council silos and barriers – and that was personalised to them and supported their independent living and wellbeing – was welcomed. Under pandemic conditions, there was a growing desire from people within the community to work with and support their neighbours, and this spirit needed to be nurtured and sustained beyond the first wave of COVID lockdown.
To continue without change would have impacted care outcomes, likely overspends, and increasingly challenged staff morale. PwC worked alongside Adult Social Care from July 2020 to December 2021 to help.
The solution involved putting into practice new ways of working across Adult Social Care, the Council’s Customer Service Centre (CSC) and voluntary and community sector (VCS) partners to:
- foster greater resilience within the communities that the Council and local partners serve, with increased independence and social connections for the people of Oxfordshire, and a better experience for people who are seeking or receiving support; and
- reduce demand on formal care services, through proactive and preventative community outreach, and thereby make better and more sustainable use of finite financial resources.
The client committed to a long-term transformation journey, partnering with PwC to help drive the changes required in a collaborative and systemic way. The proposed solution targeted three levels of OCC’s structure and system: strategic, team leaders, and front-line operational staff and partners.
Change was driven and owned by blended teams from Adult Social Care, CSC and VCS, facilitated by PwC and underpinned by a tailored version of its PerformPlus methodology. The co-developed approach called Team-led Transformation was a change management programme where PwC worked with the client’s managers and teams to instil new behaviours and improve performance. It married the hands-on coaching programme with smart technology, greater data-processing capacity and advanced analytics.
The end result delivered against all objectives – including the reduced demand on formal services and saved costs – and PwC was thrilled to demonstrate what remarkable outcomes can be achieved by empowering people and being bold through an innovative, ground-up, whole-system approach. Success was largely down to adopting a truly collaborative programme style, and enabling those who can best do front-line work to get on with the job with the people and communities they support.
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