On Wednesday 3rd October we met 25 support providers from across Scotland at the Scottish Youth Theatre venue, Glasgow. The day was the first meeting of the Pilotlight Provider Network and was a great success.
We invited a mix of providers from the voluntary and private sector alongside local authority providers to join our network for the duration of the Pilotlight project. They will provide assurance on the evidence emerging from the pathways, ideas on solving challenges, information on barriers and share examples of good practice.
At our first meeting, we asked some big questions including, ‘what does self-directed support mean to you and your organisation?’ and ‘what is your organisation currently doing around self-directed support?’. Also, ‘what are the barriers to delivering self-directed support?’ and ‘what are your organisation doing to overcome these barriers?’
These questions generated a lot of great discussion and revealed some really valuable insight for the Pilotlight project and also the individual pathways. Some of the key areas of insight were:
- Culturally, the move to self-directed support for providers is presenting many barriers around language and understanding. Simple solutions like a glossary of terms would be useful for providers.
- There is a need for planning time and clarity around who will lead support planning.
- Getting the balance between choice and risk right is a concern and was a common theme which emerged from the providers.
- Ensuring that self-directed support is outcomes focused. There is a fear that at a local authority level, inputs and outputs are the focus.
- More transparency about planning and strategy is required from local authorities. There is also a need for more co-production by providers and the people using services.
- There are barriers around finance, contracting and commissioning including block contracting and how this will be affected, the nature of contracting requires change and some provider frameworks aren’t user friendly.
- A general requirement for more information; in the marketplace and also for people and families to get information about their options.
We also asked the support providers to help us analyse our research frameworks which will be used throughout the ‘Discover’ phase of Pilotlight. With their help, we interrogated the questions we will ask people using services, local authorities, commissioners and support providers.
Our next meeting with the Provider Network will be in February 2013 and we are already looking forward to presenting our Pilotlight research back to them.