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Guest blogpost: Embracing EDGEWORK through the Adults Positive Challenge

Emily Gutteridge

Emily Gutteridge is Senior Transformation Advisor at Cambridgeshire County Council

A year ago, I was one of a number of Cambridgeshire County Council colleagues who were invited to IMPOWER’s offices for a classroom style workshop on EDGEWORK – a framework and way to think about complex change. We came away thinking that applying this approach could enable us to drive savings and most importantly deliver better outcomes for people within Cambridgeshire and Peterborough.

It was also a little daunting – we would need to be engaging council staff using Inventive Methods such as ‘Holding up the Mirror’, to try and solve a very real problem of increased demand and pressure on adult social care. But we were enthusiastic and ready to embrace a new approach.

A year on and my particular journey within the Technology Enabled Care (TEC) service has incorporated various elements of EDGEWORK into our practice, with tangible results. These include:

  1. Utilising behavioural science techniques such as MINDSPACE to consider how we communicate with staff and the public in a meaningful way, with techniques that support our vision for more strength-based discussions to enable people to live more fulfilling lives. This includes the information we provide on our website, the training materials used to support staff to understand and think ‘TEC First’, and how we engage with an outcomes-focused conversation that resonates with the residents of Cambridgeshire.
  2. We have established facilitated huddles that are now moving towards being self-sustaining. These self-managed weekly sessions are a safe and supportive space for peers to discuss current cases where everyone can contribute ideas, constructively support and challenge each other to achieve better outcomes for the people they are working with. Here staff have an opportunity to practice challenging conversations and work through behavioural science techniques to find the best way to talk to potential service users.
  3. A focus on managing demand by intervening earlier, drawing on personal and neighbourhood assets, and helping people to maximise their independence.
  4. A way of empowering client ownership has been to utilise data that the TEC team has on people within the service and the types of outcomes achieved, to create dashboards that enable all adult social care teams to understand and interpret their teams performance and use of technology to maximise independence. Combined with ‘Telling the Story’ via case studies and regular catch ups, the desire, knowledge and ability to change is being recognised throughout the service.

Going forward, reviewing the demand analysis to ensure the programme of work is keeping up with the changing external factors, and we are monitoring using the Trajectory Management approach to ensure that the outcomes we wish to achieve are maximised.

What EDGEWORK hasn’t been is a rigid set of guidelines, enforced to create change, but a way of working with IMPOWER, social care staff and the public to embed real change that will stick.

As we move into the next cycle with our business planning and the IMPOWER role adapts as the programme matures, I am looking forward to reflecting further on what we have learnt and how these methods will help us face inevitable ongoing transformation in the adult’s world and public sector more widely.

The learning that myself, Transformation colleagues and ASC have taken from IMPOWER will now filter beyond the Adults directorate to create an organisation that is more equipped to tackle complex social issues.

Written by

Emily Gutteridge



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