Practicalities and Possibilities


Programme details
Practicalities and Possibilities was an 18 month development programme designed to initiate and support nine small scale projects to apply the principles and practices of self directed support with and for older people who need support to live their daily lives.

The central aim of this work is to develop a shared understanding and approach to establishing person centred thinking, planning and support planning with older people to help them to change their lives, direct their support, and use individual budgets.

The programme is aimed at local neighbourhoods, older people, local community organisations, networks and voluntary organisations working with Local Authorities and other statutory bodies including the NHS across England. We believe that by helping to get something off the ground in every English Region, and building on the work of two Individual Budget pilot sites as more detailed "demonstrator" sites, intended achieve a much greater awareness and practical understanding around self directed support with and for older people. We also want to ensure that older people in local communities are more involved in driving this work forward, and increasingly take the lead in ensuring that older people from all communities are aware of their rights and entitlements to support; are engaged in local developments that impact on their wellbeing; and are able to access the support they need in their daily lives.

The programme involves three key components: shared learning that focuses on the important lessons for taking self directed support forward with older people; practical support to 11 neighbourhoods and localities using the seven step framework of Self Directed Support developed by in Control, with a particular focus on support planning; and leadership and capacity building to ensure older people are at the forefront of shaping and extending these developments beyond the initial 18 month period.

A key feature of the programme is the partnership and collaboration between national, regional, local organisations and communities; and statutory and non statutory partners involved in resourcing the work.

Phase 1: What are we finding out? - (March 07 - July 07)

Two key activities form the first phase:
  1. A publication setting out what is happening where, what has been learnt, what questions still need to be addressed, and what needs to happen next. This focuses on key lessons and progress from the IB pilots and in Control members working with older people as well as those from the Circles project run by OPP and person centred planning developed by HSA.

    This publication is available in printed format and through various organisations' websites including: local and national organisations (e.g. OPP, HSA, Centre for Policy on Ageing, Lloyds TSB Foundation, Help the Aged, CSV/RSVP, in Control, CSIP's Knowledge Community and self directed support network; and different Government departments including DH, DCLG, ODI) as well as the participating authorities and communities. Other organisations involved in funding and/or sponsoring this work also need to be involved in disseminating this and other resources associated with this programme.

  2. b) This publication and the development programme was launched at a one day event in July with potential representatives from localities and neighbourhoods interested in participating from each of the nine English regions.
    • The morning sessions focused on sharing the learning, hearing from a range of organisations and participants about different initiatives to date;
    • The afternoon provided a structured discussion aimed specifically at Regional participants to shape local development projects that take these lessons and apply them across England - with support from OPP and HSA.

  3. c) A short briefing paper setting out suggested proposals for local development work, and support required in the 9 English Regions to achieve this, is being prepared and circulated to those taking part in the programme and the funding partners.
Phase 2: Making Detailed Plans - (Aug/Sept - Oct 07)

During this phase, the participating localities work up their detailed local proposals, and secure commitment and local financial contributions to cover support provided from OPP and HSA. This takes place during a "Design Day" to take place in the Autumn to be agreed by local partners and OPP/HSA.

In addition to the nine Regions and regional development projects, we hope to also work with two other localities in depth, to apply the learning from the examples of best practice that have been gathered and shared in Phase 1. We anticipate these may be in Control members or individual budget pilot authorities who are already making good progress in embedding self directed support, but may want to do further work on making this happen with and for older people. Phase three (below) would therefore entail breadth (working in each English region to develop good practice) and depth (in 2 sites to demonstrate what is possible) to move this agenda forward for older people.

As part of the local development projects, we would encourage and expect to see a range of self directed approaches being adapted and adopted that reflect the aspirations, environments and needs of different communities of older people - and the range of situations and circumstances in which older people live their lives. This includes older people from black and minority ethnic communities, disabled older people, older people living alone at home and older people living in communal settings such as sheltered and extra care housing, as well as care homes and individual co-housing arrangements.

During Phase Two, we also established a small steering group to act as a repository of work in progress, aid communication and facilitate networking between localities taking part. The group would meet a total of three times during the active phases of this Regional development work.

Phase 3: Making it Happen - (Oct/Nov 07- Nov 08)

During this 12 month period, the participating localities implemented their development plans with support from OPP and HSA.

A network meeting of the participating localities after 5-6 months, to review progress, share interim findings and practical lessons; and assist next stages of work in the following 6 months including wider spread and sustainability of new approaches, active involvement of local people, including older people and their families, in different neighbourhoods, working with commissioners and providers across the board.

Phase 4: Sharing & Learning What Works - (Nov/Dec 2008)

The localities re-grouped towards the end of their development phase (e.g. at month 10-11) to consolidate and share actions, lessons and progress in making self directed support a reality for local older people - with older people who have taken part in these developments.

This forms the basis of a final, national conference - along the same lines as the initial workshop but with a wider audience, and with a focus on capturing what has been happening, hearing about what's different for local older people involved, exploring how to embed the work within all public and other local services.

Phase 5: Practical Guidance Launched - (Dec 08-Jan/Feb 09)

A final publication capturing all of the learning, practical steps, personal stories, outcomes and implications for the future (etc) in the form of a national "how to" guide was produced in this final phase.

This publication were made available in printed and open source routes, and shared via the OPP, HSA and CPA websites as well as in Control and CSIP resources, DH and ODI, participating sites and regional offices.

Partners and funders

The three organisations who were the main Programme Partners (which designed and delivering the Programme) are: The Older People's Programme (OPP); Helen Sanderson Associates (HSA), and the Centre for Policy on Ageing (CPA). Lloyds TSB Foundation is the principal funding partner for the development (or implementation) programme. in Control and CSIP sponsored the introductory book and launch event, also called Practicalities and Possibilities. Nine localities who join the programme as co-producers in making person centred thinking and planning a reality for older people are the local funding and delivery partners.


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