Connected Care is Turning Point’s model for community led commissioning. The Connected Care team recruits local people and trains them up to become community researchers. Once trained, the researchers go out into their communities and speak to local people about their experiences of using local health and social care services. This information is then used by commissioners to develop services that better fit the needs of their community.
To date Connected Care has carried out 19 projects across the country, and has recruited and trained over 250 Community Researchers. Overall the project has helped give over 10,000 people a voice in shaping local services.
A real strength of the project has been the recruitment of people who often have complex lives themselves, and extensive of knowledge of local services, as community researchers: for example people from the gypsy and traveller community, carers, people living with long term conditions and young people. This enables researchers to reach members of the public who may not usually have been involved. For researchers, Connected Care also provides a new opportunity to learn and develop new skills, which can lead to them finding other volunteering opportunities, restoring their confidence and also helping them into employment.
Connected Care projects are commissioned by local authorities and Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs). It is important to the success of each project that commissioners are engaged with the recommendations made by members of the community, and are held to account for fulfilling the ambitions of the project. The Connected Care team continue to build their relationships with commissioners as well as developing local influencing work, and identifying new opportunities to use the Connected Care methodology: including working with different populations.
Examples of Connected Care projects to date include:
Worcester: In late 2012 Turning Point was commissioned by South Worcestershire CCG to deliver a twelve month programme of community engagement, service design and social action in Worcester City, working with residents and front line staff in three areas in Worcester to look at ways to strengthen the community, improve health outcomes and reduce health inequalities.
The project recruited and trained 17 local people to become Community Champions, who used a range of research methods such as questionnaires and workshops to explore local assets and needs in the community, engaging 314 local residents in total. The information gathered was used to inform the development of a number of proto-type community led initiatives to tackle some of the key health issues locally and respond to the difficulties facing local residents. The intiatives were co-produced by the Community Champions and included a lifestyle group for people with long term conditions, a promotional campaign around wellbeing and a drop in group called ‘Time to Talk’, which is run by some of the Community Champions with support from Turning Point and the local Community Trust.
Great Yarmouth: In 2011 Great Yarmouth and Waveney CCG commissioned a piece of work to engage with people living with long term conditions (LTC) in Galston using the Connected Care model. A team of 15 local people, many with experience of LTCs, were recruited and trained to become Community Researchers. Researchers undertook 220 interviews in medical and community settings. of the research findings was that people were interested in
One of the research findings was that people wanted to be able to access individual peer support from someone with a similar condition, particular for the non-clinical aspects of managing LTCs, such as advice to remain in employment, and moral support. As a result, a Community Advocate service was set up in Galston, with local residents – including a number of the Community Researchers – trained to offer advice, support and practical help to people with long-term health conditions, and to signpost them to local services: both statutory provision and groups and activities provided by the voluntary and community sector.
Cost benefit analysis of Connected Care projects, carried out by the London School of Economics, has found that:
- For the first Connected Care project carried out in Hartlepool, which led to the establishment of a community led social enterprise to provide services including a navigator scheme, support for vulnerable older people in the community and supported living services, the potential net benefit for a person with low level support needs who engages with the social enterprise is £820 per person (rising to £3,800 when quality of life is factored in). For someone with complex needs, the cost savings would be £66,238.
- For the Basildon Connected Care project, launched in April 2009, which led to the development of the ’Experts by experience model’ (a navigator style service), every £1 invested in the service will result in an estimated return of £4 saving to the public purse