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Finding Purpose - the Medequip Journey Continues

Finding Purpose - the Medequip Journey Continues

I came across this the other day in a report by Accenture: 6 Business Change Signals | Business Futures | Accenture.

There is a growing consensus that the interests of both society and investors are best served by organisations that focus on multi-dimensional value creation for the benefit of all their stakeholders, not just shareholders.

So far so obvious, as long as we are all clear on the multi-dimensional value creation thing.

The report goes on to say that 43% of 521 of the largest organisations in the world underperform on environmental, social and governance issues despite investing in them.

It’s probably fair to say that whether you run a private, public or voluntary sector organisation, these areas will always be a work in progress.

I’ll save the environmental update for a future blog, but for now, I’m thinking to myself, as a private sector organisation delivering public services, how do I measure how well Medequip is doing to meet its core purpose.

I know we provide monitoring reports to Commissioners on each of our (41) contracts.

We also have customer care teams to contact people who use our services to see how we did.

And then we have a whole range of internal quality assurance and external audit processes, including all the industry-standard ones, plus recent applications to the Think Local, Act Personal Making it Real commitment Making it Real - Think Local Act Personal and the Department of Work and Pensions Disability Confident employer scheme Disability Confident employer scheme - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk). More details on these another time.

But do any of these tell me if Medequip is achieving its purpose of keeping people independent, and happier, for longer? Not really.

That requires a system-wide definition of the issues, agreement on the metrics and the process of collecting, analysing and reporting on the data, and most importantly a commitment to hearing the voices of people who use the services.

The work to bring health and social care together in Integrated Care Systems will help with this, but there is no guarantee every ICS will come up with the same approach to data or working with people who use services and private sector providers.

So, to my mind, we all need to work harder at getting a systematic and evidenced response to the question - have we helped people stay independent, and happier, for longer? This means we have to find answers that are good enough for now, at the same time as working to find better answers in the future.

Which reinforced my belief in the journey we have embarked on to get better at co-production and community engagement. Because, with the utmost respect to our Commissioners and the contracting authorities that employ them, it is the people who use our services, their families and friends and the communities that support them that we need to hear from, and work with, to answer the question.

I’d like to tell you I’ve found a simple answer, but I can’t.

But I can tell you the answers are simple.

The first of the Medequip values is to do what we say we are going to do - To keep our promise. That’s a good start.

Next, we will continue to listen and learn. My team and I have had some amazing conversations recently. Passionate Commissioners, inspiring voluntary sector leaders, committed and loyal staff, and we are putting the infrastructure in place to have more direct conversations with the people who use our services.

We know everyone is busy keeping the show on the road, but if you can make time to talk to us, please do.

Finally, we all know numbers count, but so do stories too. Recently Medequip had a very busy month, our busiest ever, in fact, knocking on an average of 4,700 doors a day.

It’s an impressive number, but behind each of those doors is someone with a story. We already have systems in place for counting activity, and we are working with Commissioners to improve the reporting of the difference we’ve made.

But to hear more of the stories, and to learn from people and the community groups that support them and how Medequip can help deliver on its promises, we are working with Community Catalysts Social Enterprise and Community Interest | Community Catalysts to help us co-produce a community feedback process.

I can’t promise we’ll collect 4,700 stories every day. But I can promise we’ll do more, as we continue to find ways to evidence our purpose of keeping people independent, and happier, for longer.

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