Bringing stakeholders together to co-produce a valued resource
Action for Children case study about a local council that consulted chldren, young people and parents to develop its local offer. Written by Karen Stone, Action for Children.
Enfield Council wanted to develop a local offer that is a central and valued resource for families that they turn to as their first source of information.
Their aim was to provide comprehensive, relevant, up to date and easily understood information for parents and young people about what support, from both universal and specialist services, is available from education, health and social care. Alongside the development of the information is the challenge of ensuring that parents and young people are aware of the existence of the local offer and find it easy to access.
In 2012 they appointed a dedicated worker to engage with parents and colleagues in education, health, social care and the voluntary sector to identify what services they provide, their eligibility criteria and the accessibility of the service. Providers were asked to complete a standard template and the collation of this information led to the production of draft local offer for consultation by parents. Suggestions for improvement were included and a small group worked with the council's web development team, to design the revised local offer web pages.
In September 2014, Enfield launched its printed and web-based local offer. Parents and families have been a critical factor in the co-production of the local offer and continuous improvement is sought through responding to feedback and the ongoing engagement of the parent forum.
The local offer is marketed via posters and paper copies held in libraries, children's centres, schools and colleges, GP practices and the Civic Centre as well as at events and conferences. Other 'marketing tools' are a 'stapline' that is on all correspondence and emails, business cards that professionals hand out to families, and the local offer is linked to the Youth Enfield website and to the Adult Services Disability information, which uses symbols pictures and simple language. There is also a 'listen button' to reach users with a visual impairment.
The local offer is subject to feedback and review. There has been a focus group; 'mystery shopper review' and a consultation with 15 young people, who attended youth activities. Young people were asked how to make information clearer, and a group of young people has worked with the youth service to develop a DVD to help others understand what they need to do when they are completing the All About Me section of an Education, Health & Care plan. The young people have learnt skills around interviewing, camera and computer skills and animation and at the end of 12 weeks will be awarded a Duke of Edinburgh Bronze Award. The DVD is accessible for those with a hearing impairment.
Feedback from parents and young people is used to improve the quality and accessibility of the information. For example a parent commented on the particular skills of a local dentist in working with her son with physical and learning disabilities and details of this dentist is now included on the website.
Between September 2014 and July 2015, there have been over 22,000 hits on the website. Further feedback is being sought and the local offer web pages will provide families with the opportunity to complete a feedback form. In addition talks are being held in local children's centres and consideration is being given to marketing the local offer on buses. The challenge remains how to encourage more families to access the local offer and to use it to encourage joint commissioning.