Report presses case for ‘consistent’ cross-sector work in Wales

Six principles pitched as underpinning successful partnerships between housing, health, and social care.

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Sectors failing to consistently work together across Wales is costing budgets, staff-time and people’s wellbeing, a new report says

CIH Cymru’s Tyfu Tai Cymru project looked at fifteen different projects from all over Wales, including those which reduce delays in returning home from hospital, reducing loneliness and isolation and specialist accommodation with support.

Findings are outlined in the Good health brought home report focussing on what makes a good partnership between health, housing and social care.

Six principles are pitched as underpinning successful partnerships between the three sectors:

  • A shared analysis of issues and solutions
  • Person-centred services
  • Leadership
  • Joint budgets
  • Shared interpretation of legislation
  • Recognition of power imbalance

The work was funded through the UK Collaborative Centre for Housing Evidence’s (CaCHE) Knowledge Exchange Fund that seeks to share evidence-based approach to improving practice between professionals and sectors.

“We were really pleased to work with CACHE to unpick what makes some projects between housing, health and social care successful.

By embedding the six principles, partnerships can provide better and more effective support to people across Wales,” said project manager Catherine May.

“We have progressive legislation in Wales that establishes collaboration as central to how we deliver services and the projects we spoke to are demonstrating how this can be done in a way that benefits everyone in Wales,” she said.

The report also reflects on activities that embed further joint working.

This included the need to ensure sustainable long-term funding for well-evidenced projects; establish ways of holding joint-training and good practice sharing between professionals and sharing resources underpinned by a strategy where all patterns share a common interest in improving outcomes for people.

All of the projects involved originated from discussions between individuals from organisations working in housing, health and social care about the issues they were tackling in their work and what they felt needed to be done.

They had a joint understanding of the need for a long-term, sustainable solution, and that individually services were not able to make that happen.

The projects spoken to demonstrated how they had been able to work together and share ideas, budgets and activities that meant their services were able to respond in a way that matches the circumstances of the communities they work with.

There was a particularly emphasis on the  attitude of people,  having a belief in the project and the difference it will make.

Several are cited as highlighting the importance of conversations that start with “what can we do?” instead of cost.

The report recognises that crucial to this analysis are the views of people with most direct experience – moving away from the “done-to” model of service delivery.

Reaching a shared analysis is acknowledged by the report as “challenging” as different organisations have contrasting agendas which may change over time.

The report says this  analysis and vision need revisiting on a regular basis, with it being important to respect specific priorities and the work that each partner is already undertaking in this area.

All partnerships involved reflected on the need for resources and finances to deliver the work, with many having one partner providing a larger proportion of the resources.

The report recognises that developing a joint vision and strategy for the work will help guide the budget requirements, with the  benefit of each partner contributing financially being the significance this brings to the ambition of the project – as each organisation will need to demonstrate good use of resources.

Several projects said they had put together joint funding bids, noting it was a “time-consuming and frustrating” process because of the need to navigate the bureaucracy from several organisations.

However, those projects which had successfully accessed funding through joint bids talked of the benefit of having been compelled to develop a vision and strategy before having access to the money.

The report highlights an example of possible joint funding through the Welsh Government’s Integrated Care Fund, however, the route to ICF being through the Health Board meant this was reliant on staff from the Health Board being able to prioritise the application process over other competing demands.

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