Early Intervention Improvement Project

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“After the Hack Event Basis facilitated with the Early Intervention Service in Wolverhampton, the team were on fire with energy… I can't believe how much we achieved in two days” Leah Arnold, City of Wolverhampton Council

 
 
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The City of Wolverhampton Council had recently restructured their Early Intervention Service. With a new team in place, they had conducted a programme of case audits and had identified that while there was evidence of some really innovative work, they weren’t always able to demonstrate the impact this was having for children and families. They had also identified in some cases there was a lack of consistency in the way the service was being delivered and that the process of stepping up and down between social care and early was also not always as seamless as it could have been. We were asked to work with frontline staff to help them understand how the service was working now, to help them come up with ideas for improvement and on how they could demonstrate their impact, and work with them to put those ideas into practice quickly. 

How we helped

We knew the staff themselves would have the best insights into how to make improvements to their own service. To give them some data on how things were working across all eight locality hubs, Sarah, our social work lead conducted an audit of 60 individual cases using a strengths-based audit tool we developed with the team. By holding reflective discussions with Strengthening Families Workers across the service we were able to capture a broad range of insights into what was working, what wasn’t, and what needed improving. 

Having completed the audit we facilitated a two-day Hack Event with the whole service. We brought together over 30 people including Strengthening Families Workers, Delivery Managers, Social Workers and senior managers. 

We started the event by developing a shared understanding of the service’s strengths and areas for development. We shared the outcomes of the audit, talked through some customer journeys we’d observed and spent some time trying to put ourselves in the shoes of local partners to identify what they would identify as the strengths and weaknesses of the offer.

The team identified there wasn’t enough clarity about the service offer and its boundaries. Over time it had become all things to all people and partners and internal stakeholders didn’t always know what, or how much support, to expect. 

With input from senior managers, the team decided to focus their energy on three areas during the Hack Event:

  1. Developing a clear service identity 

  2. Beginning the development of an evidence-based ‘toolkit’ of interventions to be used consistently across the service

  3. Bringing consistency to the application of thresholds

Working in three teams we helped the service to develop a long list of products that could be produced during day two of the Hack Event and brought in senior managers to prioritise the ideas they wanted to see developed and tested. 

On day two the teams conducted three one-hour sprints to work on their ideas. Between sprints, teams held a short show and tell with senior managers to gather feedback on their progress and sought input from other colleagues to develop their ideas further. All the knowledge and experience needed to develop the ideas was in the room which meant it was possible to make quick progress. 

The outcomes of the work

By the end of the Hack Event, the team had produced a series of products ready to use across the service. These included:

  • A plain English threshold document that could be used at team around the family meetings to ensure families received the correct support to meet their needs.

  • A worked-up ‘safe-touch’ intervention to be used with children at risk of child sexual exploitation across all locality hubs.

  • An approach to consistently capturing the impact of interventions with children and families which included the development of age-appropriate evaluation forms.

  • A service identity and menu, setting out the service offer and it’s boundaries. 

Perhaps the greatest achievement of the work was that by the end of the event, the team had developed a shared belief in their ability to collaborate and address their own challenges at pace. 

We were also able to build capacity within the service to continue to use similar approaches to improvement beyond our intervention. Here is what Leah Arnold, the Service Manager had to say about our work:

"After the Hack Event Basis facilitated with the Early Intervention Service in Wolverhampton, the team were on fire with energy. Over two days we were able to clarify our offer to the community, bring consistency to some of the interventions we use with children and families, design an evaluation approach to assess the impact of our work and ensure we had a common understanding of how we ensure the right professionals are working with our families at the right time. I can't believe how much we achieved in two days. What's been particularly helpful is that in addition to facilitating an event that enabled us to make real improvement at pace, Basis's support enabled us to build our capacity in delivering similar events internally".


Want to find out more?

To find out more about our work in children’s services please contact isabelle.gregory@basis.co.uk. If you’d like to find out about our work across the public sector, visit www.basis.co.uk/case-studies-basis.

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matt barnaby