New research suggests that initiatives aimed at addressing the structural causes of health inequalities in Scotland are far more effective than those aimed at changing individual behaviours. This is important information to inform new social investments.
Understandably, and thankfully, health professionals rely on evidence rather than hapchance, hope and incantations at the moon. Also understandably, they are often suspicious of the claims made for co-production, particularly if they have faced a full-frontal evangelical enthusiasm overdose from either of us. So, from all vantage points, it’s really useful to have an in-depth evaluation of the impact of co-pro on people’s health and well-being. And they seldom come more in-depth than the recent Spice evaluation of the impact of co-production across a range of time-credit initiatives in England and Wales: over 1300 people participated during a two-year period. Given that time credits are referenced in the Social Services & Wellbeing Act and in Prudent Healthcare as a key approach to co-produced and citizen-led services, this report couldn’t be more timely. Headline figures are impressive: 65% of participants said that their quality of life had improved; 45% felt healthier; 19% visited the doctor less often; 71% had made new friends and 76% felt able to contribute more to their community. Significantly, 48% of public service organisations involved reported that they were able to offer improved access to services with the same or fewer resources. Read the full report or check out the executive summary.
Here’s a useful piece of research by the University of Glasgow on six community-led health organisations in Fife. The report, which is available here, looks at the process, challenges and benefits of community-led approaches to improving health. A particular focus of the research is on community engagement and community capacity building, the latter being seen as essential to supporting people “to realise they can have an influence”. Health Issues in the Community (HIIC) is identified as one effective method of building capacity. The research also highlights the importance of agency capacity building, stating that “practitioners found the community-led approach can be ‘challenging’ and different from approaches they may have typically used in the past.”
Spice, the social enterprise dedicated to developing agency timebanking systems, has published a two year evaluation of their time credits model. Results suggest that time credits have a positive impact on individuals and communities with 65% of Spice members reporting that their quality of life has improved; 45% of people saying they feel healthier and 49% less isolated. The evaluation also found that time credits are an effective way of engaging new people in their communities and generating more active citizenship and participation, as well as helping to create a more regular and reliable volunteer base.
A report from the Early Action Task Force which outlines what a social security system with early action at its heart could look like.
The Public Service Transformation Challenge Panel, which consists of public servants, healthcare professionals and representatives from Nesta, has put forward the report ‘Bolder, Braver, Better: why we need local deals to save public services’.
The report concerns itself with the current need for transforming public services, with ‘transformation’ itself being characterised as services where:
. people are the focus of delivery, regardless of the organisations providing or commissioning;
. outcomes for people take priority over output or process targets and measures;
. frequent users of public services are encouraged to make better choices, mitigate their own costs and contribute to their communities, and services designed to encourage and facilitate responsible behaviour;
. multi-agency provision of services, virtual and physical co-location are the norm, service silos and duplication are eliminated; and,
. digital technologies and big data are embedded in the design and delivery of services to improve customer experience.
This is a resource to help NHS, council commissioners and providers of services organise person-centred care based on what people with live experience of mental illness say is important to them. The resource was co-produced by TLAP and National Voices with people with mental health needs from TLAP’s National Co-production Advisory Group, the National Survivor User Network, Mind, Rethink Mental Illness and Certitude.