The origin of 3 Conversations
OLM Founder and CEO, Peter O’Hara, has a history of seeing trends in social care as they emerge and investing in solutions. He saw that with the advent of the Care Act, a huge responsibility was about to be placed on the shoulders of local authorities across the country.
During his in-depth conversations with colleague, Sam Newman, about the current state of the sector and the transformation that was needed, Sam discussed his vision of a radically different, person-centred approach for social work practice. This approach would focus on empathy and engagement, rather than box ticking and form filling.
Rather than shying away from the problem, Peter, saw this as an opportunity to invest.
Peter created a specialist division that would focus on practice and change management – using this as a stepping stone to complete system change. Not to be solely concerned with efficiency savings, its remit would be to create lasting change, focused on improving lives in a financially sustainable manner. This new division of OLM was called, Partners for Change, headed by Sam Newman.
Ten years on from its inception and Sam is still head of Partners for Change, creating an effective change management ethos with a growing customer base across the UK. Focused on the ‘The Three Conversations®’, an approach co-designed along the way with partner authorities, Partners for Change seek to collaborate with authorities and other organisations to radically change their approach to people and families that need support. In doing so they create more fulfilling and productive jobs for the workforce, and significant positive impact on activity and finance. The 3 Conversations® Methodology is also regularly cited by sector gurus such as Lyn Romeo, Chief Social Worker.
One of the most recent examples took them to the far South West of England and Cornwall Council.
Three Conversations® - Cornwall Council
In June of last year, Cornwall Council, launched their Three Conversations® innovation site. Since then two other sites have joined the revolution and embraced the Methodology.
The 3 Conversations Model® is about truly listening to people, understanding what really matters, and being useful, by connecting people to community resources, by sticking like glue to people in crisis and wherever possible doing this without resorting to formal care services. It’s a move away from forms, process and ‘box ticking’, towards focussing on people’s experience and what a ‘good life’ means to them. A great example of this is from one of the Social Workers at Cornwall who quotes the 3 Conversations Model® as saving her career.
Kerry Keeble, Cornwall social worker:
“The 3 conversations model® has saved my career. I didn’t feel I was practising the social work I learned at university. [The model] is person-centred and I can use my own initiative. I can ask people what’s really important to them and help them make that happen.”
The enthusiasm from the staff is a testament to the proven 3 Conversations Model®. This way of working in Cornwall has now created evidence, through conversations with more than 1,800 people in 6 months, of the benefits to people, staff and the budget. The change is infectious and spreads like a virus. Early indications suggest that Cornwall will achieve at least a 10% reduction in new packages of care but more than that they have people loving the immediate and responsive approach, and a workforce that is more motivated and productive. Gone are the ‘Assessment for Service’, and waiting list days. As a point for comparrison, when the 3 Conversations Model® was used in a similar sized authority, the average wait for a proper conversation went from 45 days to 2 days.
Treating everyone as an individual, really listening, and doing what matters is the future of care and The 3 Conversations Model® helps to achieve this. In Cornwall, Henry Muller, is an elderly carer. He cares for his wife who lives with Dementia and before the change in Care Model, Henry was quite intimidated by the process.
“If you come in with a questionnaire and ask lots of questions it’s not a true picture of what’s going on…I clam up.”
With the move towards the 3 Conversations Model®, Henry feels happier and more supported. He feels relaxed. He feels like the ‘system’ is working for him and his wife, rather than against him. He now has hope for the future and is optimistic that Social Workers and others will find a way to get them out into the community again. This, he hopes will also include a return to their local church.
This is one of the many feel-good stories that the 3 Conversations Model® produces every day.
Through the ‘3 Conversations Model®’ the focus is on understanding what really matters and being useful, rather than handing people off, and making them queue and wait in a ‘social care sorting office’. Workers are liberated to use their skills and do what they have been trained for. They end up being real social workers, real Occupational Therapists, real nurses.
If like Cornwall you are interested in radically changing your approach to people in your area who need support, re-motivate your workforce and reduce costs then contact us today.
For more information