Local Cornerstone – Year One Review – A Team Member’s Perspective

September 13, 2018

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By Kelly Blair – Team Member

12 months into ‘Local Cornerstone’, a radical restructuring of one of Scotland’s largest care providers, designed to provide staff with more autonomy and deliver better outcomes for service users, team member Kelly Blair shares what it has been like as a team member going through the transition.

Cornerstone provides care and support for adults, young people and children with learning disabilities, physical disabilities and other support needs across Scotland. With the support of the Carnegie UK Trust and others we are implementing an ambitious three year strategy called ‘Local Cornerstone’ that challenges traditional ways of providing social care.

‘Local Cornerstone’ involves removing traditional hierarchical structures and creating a network of local self-organised teams: self –organising local care and support teams (LCAST).  The LCASTs are supported by coaching and mentoring rather than management and supervision and make use of new technology.

The introduction of the LCASTs ensures we can reward our up-skilled, trusted colleagues like me to provide great care and support in their local communities.  Cornerstone is one of the highest paid care providers this encourages colleagues to feel more professional and valued.

Our team heard about the opportunity to become a self-organising teams at one of the Local Cornerstone Roadshows. Everyone signed up because they liked the idea. A few weeks later our Branch Leader came in to meet with us and have a chat to see how we would feel about trialling it. Everyone felt excited and honoured to be one of the first teams to take part. I loved the concept, having been a long term member of staff I was looking forward to the changes ahead.

As a self- organising team we are trusted to do a great job and encouraged to use our initiative to make our own decisions. Clare, a colleague who works in an LCAST in Glasgow is one example of what this means in practice:

Clare’s Story

Clare moved into a self-organising team in Glasgow. She was supported to appreciate her value and given the confidence to recognise that hers is a valued profession. She was paid more. She has blossomed in her role and every day undertakes activities with the people she supports that are not restricted by a list of tasks and over burdensome processes and policies. She is free to use her imagination and skills to meet our charitable purpose. She recently reviewed a care review meeting. In her role she would never have been allowed or expected to attend such a meeting. With her new found confidence as a ‘professional’ she contributed as an equal and her input was appreciated. Clare left the meeting feeling ten feet tall and knowing that the outcome for the young man is exactly what it should be thanks to her contribution.

Changing an organisational culture is no easy task, and we recognise that transformation of this scale will take time, and not be without its challenges.

Our Local Cornerstone, year one report includes findings from an independent evaluation carried out by the University of Strathclyde, captures lessons learned, our overall achievements and identifies priorities for the remaining two years of our pioneering strategy.

At the time of writing we had 31 LCASTs.  The majority are housing support teams but we also have a growing number of teams that provide community based support.

One of the biggest challenges was the slower than anticipated uptake in colleagues entering into a LCAST. Some of this was to do with a delay in setting the team member rate of pay and other factors including the natural resistance to change.  However, since December 2017 our coach team has become aware of a discernible increase in momentum from colleagues interested in joining a LCAST.

To find out more about our team member journey, and about our first year of implementing our new strategy, please email [email protected] for a copy of our year one report. Further information on Cornerstone can also be found from out recently updated website www.cornerstone.org.uk .

The Trust is supporting Local Cornerstone as part of our Enabling State programme of work. We hope the learning from this innovative approach will provide insights for others seeking to move toward more enabling ways of working.

Find out more about our Enabling State programme here.

Our What Do Citizens Want? research highlights the profound impact that the relationship between practitioners and the people they support has on wellbeing and some of the challenges practitioners face.