Carers Support Services for North East Lincolnshire - You Said, We Did
North East Lincolnshire Clinical Commissioning Group is responsible for planning and buying local support services for carers.
In January 2018 the CCG carried out engagement with adult carers, young carers and professionals from the health and social care sector who work with the cared for and their carer(s). We wanted to involve carers across the community (not just those signed up with the carers’ support service), professionals who directly interact with carers; and people from the wider community with views about carers services.
We wanted to understand carers’ views and experiences of current support services for carers and what was important to them, to inform the service specification and procurement of carers’ support services from 1st April 2019.
Carers were fully involved in this process. – they co-produced the survey and focus group questions, reviewed the feedback from the engagement and how this influenced the specification, and were part of the procurement panel, with a weighted say in the decision making to select the future service provider.
What did we do?
The Carers Forum is a group of existing and former Carers, representing Carers’ interests; this group acts as an independent voice for Carers across North East Lincolnshire, and has a key role in the planning and development of local services and the promotion of Carers’ issues, rights and involvement.
The CCG worked closely with members of the carers’ forum, we developed a carer and professional questionnaire, and a young carers’ questionnaire, as well as a comment card; the comment card was available in the carers’ support centre, to capture thoughts from current registered carers of the service. The surveys were sent out via the carers’ centre newsletter, the CCG Global newsletter, ACCORD newsletter, current professional carer service teams (i.e. in CPG, Navigo), and also made available at GP surgeries, carer linked 3rd sector partner locations, children’s centres and at awareness raising events.
The adult surveys were accessible online or in hard copy; people were also given the option of completing the survey over the telephone or sending in their written comments via email or letter if they preferred. The children’s survey was not offered in an online format, but young people were encouraged to fill in the paper versions or email/call. The CCG also visited all carer groups (both young carer and adult carer) in North East Lincolnshire in January, to get direct focused feedback.
We attended 22 adult carer meetings, with a total of over 200 carers, and 3 young carer groups (around 50 children). We carried out a workshop at the CCG’s Way Forward Public and Stakeholder engagement event in March and publicised the engagement via CCG communication networks including social media, website and Accord newsletter.
A total of 237 adult carer surveys were received, 10 young carer surveys and 29 professional surveys. We analysed the findings, and used the results when writing the specification and tender brief for the new service – we looked at what services carers received now that they value, what new services they’d like to receive and services they’d like to receive in a different way. In this way, bidders were held to account against the requirements for carers’ services, as identified across the entirety of North East Lincolnshire.
We ran engagement events with carers, where we sought their input and agreement on the main elements of the specification and the questions for tender bidders. We also recruited carers directly for the tender panel – this panel had 2 elements. Panel B was the professional aspect of the panel, and had representation from carers on it. The weighting was with Panel C, which was made up exclusively of carers.
As a result, carers were involved in this process from engagement through to appointment of the provider.
This document explains how the outcomes from this engagement informed the specification for Carers Support Services in North East Lincolnshire and how the feedback from participants is being taken forward.
Pictured - Colin Binns, carer & Vice Chair of the Carers Forum (L) &
Marie Fitzgerald, carer & Chair of the Carers Forum
As Chairperson of the Carers Forum representing all unpaid carers in North East Lincolnshire, I was invited to be part of the process of Section B of the re-tender and its specification. This meant I was fully involved in the procurement itself, from co-designing questions, possible service changes, reading the bids, interviewing potential providers and choosing the provider.
As an unpaid carer for two people since 2006, I gladly accepted the challenge.
The process of going through key questions and expected responses, which would fully describe what a Carers Service would look like to a carer, is a skill within itself. This is why I applaud that Carers from all areas were involved in the Carers Support re-tender from the beginning. They are the experts.
My voice was heard as I challenged what had worked well in the last contract and what I thought was needed in the new agreement. My experience and knowledge was vital at this stage to improve what a new service would look like – Marie Fitzgerald, carer and chair of the Carers Forum
I felt part of a team, to be asked for our input of how the tender for the carers support service should look like. For me that was a great feeling, to have an impact on its future because I have been a carer for many years. I felt as though you were listening to me on my views - Colin Binns, carer and vice-chair of the Carers Forum