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
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
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
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.