Caring For Carers – An Award-Winning Approach

An initiative, designed to put carers in North East Lincolnshire at the heart of the local health service’s decision making process, has been nominated for a top award.

Over two years ago North East Lincolnshire Clinical Commissioning Group pledged to give carers better support to enable them to look after someone else and remain healthy and well themselves. 

Since then carers have been heavily involved in setting up a new Carers’ Support Service, due to launch in April 2014.

Local carers were invited to be part of the tendering process to find a suitable organisation to run the new service on behalf of the NHS and given guidance and training to evaluate the applicants before the new contract was awarded.

This collaborative procurement approach has been so successful that it has been shortlisted for the National Government Opportunities (GO) Excellence in Public Procurement Awards 2014/15.

“I have cared for my daughter for over 40 years and was happy to feedback my experiences to help select the best organisation for the carers’ service,” said Mary Morley, Chair of the Carers’ Forum and participant in the tendering process.

“The process of was very thorough and everyone had a chance to have their say. We helped to decide what questions the potential providers had to answer, reviewed their applications and sat in the meetings where the bidders told us what they planned to do if they were chosen. We were heavily involved from the beginning and our comments had a big weighting on the final decision.”

“Involving people with different views to have their say is very worthwhile and it will be very good for the carers when the new service starts in April.”

“Carers play a huge role in keeping vulnerable people safe and well, so it’s only right that we give them a voice and involve them in the decision making for the services they use,” said Nicola Pullman, Service Lead for Carers and Communities for North East Lincolnshire CCG.

“Thanks to their input we have committed to doubling the hours of outreach work and staff training, this will allow us to identify carers sooner so they are given the help, advice and support needed to live ordinary lives themselves.”

“We’re really pleased to be a finalist in the National GO Awards, not only that, but this approach will be used as a template for future procurement in the CCG,” she added.

Grahame Steed, Lead Judge in the National GO Awards 2014/15, said: “This year’s submissions into the National GO Awards demonstrated the incredible breadth and depth of activity, innovation and commitment across the sector.

“The judging panel were impressed by the desire of all shapes and sizes of organisation to make positive change to their approach to procurement. Every finalist deserves the recognition that the National GO Awards bring, and we look forward to the presentation ceremony on 19 March in front of the leading influencers and decision makers in this sector.”

The National GO Awards 2014/15 will be held on 19 March at the Hilton Metropole Hotel, Birmingham.

The new Carers’ Support Service will be delivered from a new centre at 1 Town Hall Square, Grimsby, DN31 1HY.

Carers will be able to access information, advice and support including holistic therapies, counselling and befriending to meet their needs.

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