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					Lincolnshire is listening – putting people first
I am proud to be representing my local authority at the European Social Care Conference in Paris. Adult Social Care is seldom recognised for good pieces of work and this is an opportunity not to be missed. Bringing our work and the voices of our service users and carers to Paris has been another highlight of this extraordinary project. (Workshop presenter).

Over one hundred delegates at the European Social Services Conference came to hear how the County Council created a new vision for life in Lincolnshire, involving service users, their carers and stakeholders across every service. Following introductory presentations and a film of the work, we invited participants to discuss and reflect on some questions about their experience of making compelling contributions. This created opportunities for dialogue and shared inquiry, and demonstrated the first part of the Appreciative Inquiry (AI) approach. People worked in pairs, describing times when they successfully contributed to a project or development; and reflecting on what this tells us about enabling service users and carers to join us in shaping services.

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In the plenary session, we invited people to tell us some of the stories they had been sharing and the emerging themes they had identified. We heard about innovative collaborations where children and elderly people come together to share services, premises and activities, and about successful visioning work being undertaken in Brighton and Hove, UK. Through the discussion, and the key points highlighted by delegates after the session, we discovered that:  People contribute best when they are involved from the beginning, when they are participating as equals and when we really listen to each other. Delegates fed back the importance of listening to service users and carers, keeping them central to everything we do and of making sure that their involvement is genuine, not tokenistic. Involving service users and carers at every stage is crucial – its not just about bringing people in when we are ready to consult them – but genuinely planning together. Following through with action is crucial – people want to be listened to and they want to see action taken as a result of what they say. We all know that we will be more likely to contribute when we can see the impact of our contributions. Some participants said that they have been having really fruitful conversations with service users and carers, but find taking action from these conversations the real challenge. Appreciative Inquiry offers an effective, creative and enjoyable method for working with service users, their carers and everyone involved in the planning, design, delivery and review of services. People really like working in this way and delegates identified a number of ways in which they might use the principles and methods of this innovative approach. Using photographs and film to record and showcase this work has really brought this work to life and communicated its key messages very directly. Service users and carers speak for themselves through these media.

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‘The knowledge gained from other workshops and having conversations with our international colleagues gave me a unique experience. First it confirmed to me that we are all striving for the same thing…to support people in our own local communities. Two, that there are so many good projects and services being delivered across the world, that we all need to learn from them and take their ideas back into our own workplace.’

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‘Together we will explore what is working well and what needs improving. When one speaker talked about both social care and health care being brought together under one body, the nods from the audience confirmed this as a common goal.’ ‘I hope that the key themes from this conference will be fed back to shape new European policy’.

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Annexe Lincolnshire is listening – the story of a vision
In 2007, Lincolnshire County Council asked service users, their carers, councillors, officers and key partners across adult services to create a new vision for life in Lincolnshire – a vision to underpin and direct future priorities and actions. We used Appreciative Inquiry (AI) to find the current best of Lincolnshire and to build on this in innovative and creative ways. At the heart of AI is the understanding that people and organisations move in the direction of the questions they ask and the conversations they are having. We engaged the ‘whole system’ in conversations about Lincolnshire at its best, created inspiring visions of the future and identified practical ways of making this happen.

Over 250 people participated in appreciative inquiries into what life should be like in Lincolnshire. A final event brought the ‘whole system’ together to share stories, reflect on the visions and dream together about the future. This event was filmed and over 2000 copies of the DVD were sent out into Lincolnshire for wider consultation. ‘People who have been involved in the process are starting to believe that Lincolnshire is listening.’

A vision for Lincolnshire

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This work began a culture change within Lincolnshire County Council, putting service users and carers at the heart of everything it does, and directing energy, attention and resources to fulfilling the vision. New roles are emerging and people who use services are involved at every step. They are included on recruitment panels for senior appointments, are consulted about access to services and are involved in designing and planning new services.

Creative ways of working are developing; there is new hope for everyone involved and Lincolnshire is now recognised as a national leader in this area of work. Future work involving stakeholders from across all sectors and services is planned to make the vision a reality.

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Making it happen – implementing the vision

Shift in Shift in Culture Culture Performance Performance Framework Framework

Vision for Vision for Lincolnshire Lincolnshire

Engagement Engagement Strategy Strategy Service/Team Service/Team Plans Plans

Recruitment Recruitment Panels Panels

11st Conversation Conversation 2007 2007

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Local Area Local Area Agreements Agreements

New New Publications Publications Access Access To To Buildings Buildings
Skills for Care Skills for Care In In Lincolnshire Lincolnshire

First Contact First Contact Information Information Cards Cards

Organisational Organisational Structure Structure

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For further information about this work, please contact: Jill Guild, Workstream Manager, Lincolnshire County Council, jill.guild@lincolnshire.gov.uk Julie Barnes, Consultant, julie.barnes@yahoo.co.uk Lesley Moore, Consultant, lesley@mooreinsight.co.uk

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