Using evidence to ensure change programmes make the biggest difference.

Senior social care leaders from around the country are taking part in a programme to rapidly develop their capability to deliver effective organisational change. The ADASS Accelerate programme, which has been co-designed by the association and Newton, includes residential sessions, ongoing mentoring and cross-industry insight.

Richard Webb, the ADASS Trustee overseeing the programme says that Accelerate is an important new development for the Association enhancing the support it provides for its members. “ This is about offering something a bit different. It’s quite an exciting and new partnership to be working with Newton. We all agreed that we wanted more than ‘just another leadership / transformational programme’ and, from the feedback so far, it feels like Accelerate lives up to that expectation. A big thank you goes out to Cathy Kerr and Marie Rogers and to Newton colleagues who have made this happen. And to the first participants, who through their active involvement, have developed the programme beyond all of our expectations”.

On 14th March 9 ADASS members travelled from up and down the country to meet in Leeds, kicking off the inaugural Accelerate programme.

The participants resurfaced three days later armed with frameworks, change methodologies, and benefits realisation calculations – all designed to support how they assessed and prioritised their change programmes to make the biggest difference back in their organisation.

Fact, not opinion

Getting going is really important. The natural reaction when a senior officer has spotted something that isn’t working is to get on and fix it. The most important lesson from the first module is to pause and look at the evidence.

Without having evidence to back up our assumption of the problem how can we be sure that what we are trying to solve may not in fact be the symptom of a wider issue somewhere else in the system? Or is this in fact the third or fourth biggest problem we are facing? Furthermore, when trying to unite our teams behind a common purpose – it can be much more difficult when the reason for making the change is based on anecdotes or long-held beliefs rather than cold, hard facts and data.

Participants spent time reflecting on how they go about gathering the data and evidence that would enable them to prove not just the importance, but value of the programme. Using that information to demonstrate where the biggest opportunities, or levers, lie – and focusing their and their teams’ efforts on addressing those opportunities would then allow them to make the best use of often-limited resources.  One participant has already decided that they will place a greater emphasis on “communicating the evidence based approach to clarify aims and provide greater focus”.

A corporate director on the programme found the first module “informative, challenging and thought provoking.” She now has a “far better understanding of the importance of diagnosing the opportunities for greatest change and developing key performance indicators to focus the work.”

Peer learning

What participants have welcomed most is the chance to talk about the challenges of driving change with colleagues from other councils.

A service director said: “Being part of the Accelerate programme has been a fantastic opportunity to build networks with other newly appointed or aspiring directors. I have benefited greatly from sharing strategic thinking, ideas and lessons about what works well and less well with the other participants.”

A corporate director  on the programme added: “This is a great opportunity work with colleagues from across the country with a range of expertise”

Next steps

With the support of their programme partners, participants will now continue with their change programmes, coming back together in June to look at how to trial and validate new ideas before rolling them out more widely.

Matt Baker, Associate Director, Newton & Cathy Kerr, ADASS Associate