Evaluation of sector-led improvement in Adult Social Care
The local authorities in the West Midlands have coordinated a regional peer-review challenge process regarding social care support for adults. This is an intensive three day process in which a regional team including peers from other authorities including a Director of Adult Social Services (DaSS) and a Principal Social Worker (PSW). The review team also includes someone from the local area with lived experience of social care support. The peer-review is coordinated by the ADASS WM with local authorities committing their time on a voluntary and reciprocal basis.
This study will explore the value of the peer review from the perspectives of different stakeholder groups and local authorities and identify how it could be improved in future.
This study has a mixed methods design with stakeholders involved in the peer challenge process, including qualitative interviews, survey and focus groups. Stakeholders will include Directors of Adult Social Services, Elected Members, Reviews with Lived Experience, and Principle Social Workers.
Stakeholders reported that the peer challenge was very useful, an extremely good use of resources, and very effective in improving the quality of adult social care. Reviewers benefited from working closely with team members from a different background and learning about approaches taken by the recipient authority.
ADASS gave important oversight and coordination, and helped to secure the commitment of new Directors of Adult Social Services. Reviewers in general felt extremely well prepared through the training and guidance. People with lived experience reported that they were uncertain about the boundaries of their contribution and if they had the necessary skills and experience.
The Peer Challenge enables Councils in the region to reflect both on the quality of services and their strategic plans by providing an invaluable outside perspective which often confirms critical issues and illuminates underlying factors. As commissioning and delivery of health and social care in the region become encompassed within Integrated Care Systems there is considerable potential in adopting a similar Peer Challenge approach. This could not only facilitate robust external challenge for the emerging Integrated Care Systems but also provide a valuable opportunity for practice and senior leaders to engage with each other across disciplines and sectors. Considering the holistic experiences of individuals and families as part of the practice reviews would enable important insights on the extent to which their care is becoming more coordinated and person centred.
The full report, Improving Together: The Evaluation of the Peer Challenge Programme for Adult Social Care in the West Midlands, is now available online.