Why worry about collaboration?

Ruth StudleyOur guest blogger, Ruth Studley, Healthcare Inspectorate Wales, explains the importance of collaboration. 

You may ask why should we worry about collaboration? In the current times of wanting to increase our impact with often reducing resources, collaboration is vital.

We all need to know what we are doing and why. We need to know how our personal role fits into that of our organisation goals.

In the public sector we need to go a step further and consider how our personal and organisational roles fit into the broader goal of wanting to create a positive impact on the population. We can do this on our own but we have a greater impact if we do this with others. Do you agree?

Why don’t we collaborate more – do we all understand what collaboration means?

The Oxford University Press states that collaboration is ‘the action of working with someone to produce something‘.

I believe effective collaboration is more than this. It is more than a joint goal with agreed milestones and deliverables. It is enhanced by trust and respect, openness, honesty and transparency about conflicting views and opinions, working through difficult problems to achieve a consensus, an aims that suits everyone.

 How do we collaborate more – have you considered what collaboration looks like in your environment?

Collaboration is the driving force behind Inspection Wales. But what does that mean? How does it feel?

From a personal perspective, it is about trust, mutual respect, openness, honesty and reliability. Interestingly, this can be summarised mathematically:


Lets first consider those aspects of trust that have a positive impact on collaboration.

Credibility – Do you say what you know and is it right?
Reliability – Do you do what you said you were going to do?
Intimacy – Do you know your colleagues, staff, managers? Do you you value them and inspire them? Do your respect their values?

Like any mathematician, I know the power of the denominator! The reciprocal has the ability to undermine the numerator. Here it can do immense damage to the trust and rapport we build. In this example, we need to be aware of the trait of the self interest.

Are you making decisions or behaving in a particular way for your own benefit without consideration of the impact on others? Is it all about your brand? Your goal?

Inspection Wales is based on many of these principles. For example, the recent publication of the information sharing principles places a huge amount of trust in other organisations to use that intelligence appropriately and keep it safe. In many areas we identify our joint or overlapping goals and focus on delivering these together to achieve better outcomes for people.

Indeed, we could use the power of the reciprocal here and say – why would you not collaborate? Resistance rather than trust can develop by focussing on our self interests and those of our own organisations, but these will eventually be broken down by those who are credible and reliable and open and want to work together to achieve greater outcomes.

I’ll end with a quote from Helen Keller:

“Alone we do so little; together we can do so much”

 Ruth Studley is the Director of Strategy and Development at Healthcare Inspectorate Wales (HIW) Before joining HIW Ruth was the Head of Health Statistics at StatsWale

Views on report into independence of older people in Wales

The Auditor General for Wales, this week, released a report ‘Supporting the Independence of Older People: Are Councils Doing Enough?

The report examines whether councils are working effectively to support the independence of older people. While the Welsh public sector recognises the challenges of an ageing population, the report found that some key barriers are inhibiting the shift in focus that is needed to reduce demand for health and social care services and support older people to live independently.

This study was conducted by the Wales Audit Office and the Care and Social Services Inspectorate, who are part of Inspection Wales, along with the Older People’s Commissioner for Wales.

In this series of videos, the Auditor General for Wales, the Chief Inspector of Care and Social Services Inspectorate Wales and the Older People’s Commissioner for Wales answer the following questions on the report:
Clearly there are financial challenges to delivering these services, what can local government do to ensure that services are available for those who need it most?

Given the findings of today’s report what recommendations would you make to both councils and Welsh Government to help improve the services they offer to older people in Wales?

Huw Vaughan Thomas, Auditor General for Wales

Imelda Richardson, Chief Inspector of Care and Social Services Inspectorate Wales

Sarah Rochira, Older People’s Commissioner for Wales

If you would like to view a copy of the report you can do so via the Wales Audit Office website

Collaboration in action

A joint report on the independence of older people released today provides a great example of how the Inspection Wales Programme is developing approaches to collaborative working.

This study was conducted by the Wales Audit Office and the Care and Social Services Inspectorate, who are part of Inspection Wales, along with the Older People’s Commissioner for Wales.

In this blog post, representatives from all three organisations outline the advantages of working together on this report and how collaboration is helping them deliver better outcomes.  

Huw Vaughan Thomas, Auditor General for Wales

HVt generic twitter

Working together. Everyone talks about it and the benefits it brings. You know the picture. Better use of resources, wider knowledge to draw on, specialist expertise, greater experience to broaden understanding and practically, more hands make light work of the difficult task. As an idea it is difficult to argue against but can still be very difficult to do. Different working styles, different expectations and different objectives all have to be balanced if it is to be successful. It also helps if you get on and like each other.

Thinking of the pluses and minuses of working together, I am pleased to say that the Wales Audit Office study on the independence of older people, which was published on October 15th 2015, is built on an effective working together experience. Colleagues in the Care and Social Services Inspectorate in Wales and the Office of the Older Peoples Commissioner in Wales positively assisted the Auditor General to deliver this study.

The support provided, advice given, help in shaping the methodology, delivering fieldwork, distributing surveys, promoting the work and reviewing findings has led to a comprehensive review which produced a detailed picture of how councils support the independence of older people.

Without the enthusiasm and willingness of CSSIW and the Commissioner to support this work the study would not have been as a comprehensive in its coverage or made the impact it has. One thing is for sure, the benefits of joint working is plain for all to see and is something we need to continue to build on and is something we can and need to do more of.
Imelda Richardson, Chief Inspector of Care and Social Services Inspectorate Wales

Imelda Richardson image for twitter and facebook

We work closely with Wales’ other inspectorates and we’re proud to champion a joint working approach, as demonstrated by working with Estyn to create a joint inspection framework for early years services. We have a number of agreements in place on how we work with other regulators, inspectorates, and local authorities involved in improving the quality of social care and social services in Wales.

For this report we were able to share knowledge from our inspection activity in all 22 Welsh local authorities, and collaborate with partners to better focus on the wellbeing of our older population. We were happy to play a supporting role for this report and share our knowledge and experience about the needs of older people.

Our work is an important part of Wales’ social care sector, and joint working allows us to be a stronger voice for improving care for people in Wales than if we operated in isolation.

Taking on board ideas around best practice and taking a cross-cutting view across social care allows us to improve our own practice and share ideas more widely across other organisations, and can only have a positive impact on the people of Wales who rely on or help support social care in this country.

I look forward to further collaborative work with partner organisations in the coming years.

Sarah Rochira, Older People’s Commissioner for Wales

Sarah Rochira

As Older People’s Commissioner, I have welcomed the opportunity to work with the Wales Audit Office (WAO) and other partners to produce this report. The report follows on from my participation in the WAO Shared Learning Seminars in July 2015, and I am pleased that this work has strengthened links with the Auditor General and colleagues. Collaboration across the public sector in Wales is needed more than ever, and I am pleased that the WAO and others reinforce my key statements and recognise the importance of maintaining the independence of older people.

Given the challenging financial outlook, service providers in Wales must now work together to provide high-quality services that reflect the needs of older people. Older people’s needs are not confined to health and social care services, and providers based in transport, education, housing and leisure sectors, for example, must deliver cost-effective services that help to maintain the independence of older people.

A collaborative, joined-up and long-term approach, based on the integration and prevention agendas, is now urgently required to remove key barriers and maintain the health and wellbeing of older people. Joint working is crucial in addressing both the national wellbeing goals within the Wellbeing of Future Generations Act and also the aims within the Ageing Well in Wales Programme.

I look forward to working further with the WAO and other partners to make clear the importance of taking a preventative approach and to ensure that public service providers can better utilise older people’s wealth of knowledge and experience, increase their contribution to communities across Wales and help older people across Wales to maintain their health and independence.

If you would like to find out more about the report ‘Supporting the Independence of Older People: Are Councils Doing Enough?’ the report can be downloaded from the Wales Audit Office website.