What are the risks associated with this approach?

October 23, 2012

At the beginning of the project planning when ideas were being developed, more consideration could have been given to the risks associated with the each of the projects.  Once the projects began to evolve, there was  a better  understanding of the importance of risk management processes.  The standard issues such as health and safety, first aid and minimum staffing levels began to be raised and addressed.  In addition specific projects had additional checks that were needed.  For example  the BBQ bike needed to be issued with a food safety certification and site visit and public liability insurance was required for the manager of poly tunnel which was placed on Lambeth Living land. The latter example raises real questions about assumed liability between parties should any issues have arisen (e.g. Lambeth Living, Lambeth Council or High Trees Community Trust who were awarded the funding to deliver the project).

There are also accountability issues and the need for transparency in respect of payment processes, especially as the protocol for was for the council to manage at arms length.   It was more expedient for High Trees to assume responsibility of the budgets for the majority of the projects for a small administration fee.   As a consequence this made High Trees Community Trust responsible for ensuring  that  project budgets were spent with probity and the planned outcomes delivered rather than the individual project manager.  Some of the projects have been delivered by project leads who are working alone, without the support of constituted groups or organisations.  It is important for future projects to consider well in advance the range of processes which need to be put in place to manage risk.

 


Made in Lambeth catch up – 12th July

July 13, 2012

Yesterday afternoon the Made in Lambeth team had a great catch up at the Town Hall in Brixton. It was a chance to get an update on the three projects that were developed at the last event, as well as looking forward to the next event and what projects we could work on in October. Council staff were pleasantly surprised by the amount of people who showed up! It shows that people are keen to stay involved and to contribute to designing and creating local services. A brief round up of the main points follows.

The website project is going well, we are working out ways to build up the content in the new website using the work done on the open source website developed at Made in Lambeth. The Love Your Space project is being pushed forward by Public Realm services, who are keen to maintain this as a community led project which allows people to identify unloved spaces and then enable them to do something about them themselves. The design for coproducing Healthwatch will go to cabinet in September, and the plans for this are based on the output from the Good for Nothing event. If approved, they will want to revisit the Good for Nothing Healthwatch team to get involved in the coproduction process.

Following the updates there was some really strong and useful feedback on the first event which we can take forward to the next one. This includes:

  • The council needs to be clearer about letting go and transferring power. Being clear that it wants the public to lead on projects, giving permission to take a project and run with it.
  • Develop a project pack for each of the new projects selected that includes background information, data, contacts etc.
  • Identify networks outside of twitter/facebook in order to encourage people with skills to come along. Think about offline networks locally to attract a more diverse range of skilled people.
  • Think about some methods of incentivising people to come along – a crèche?
  • Ownership of projects continues to be important, need someone there who is clear they have the resource to take the work forward beyond the event. Also they could share this ownership with a service user / recipient?
  • The group didn’t feel that much more structure to the events was needed, but did feel that the goals of the event should be more strongly defined at the outset. Especially around doing not talking, voting with your feet and divide and conquer.
  • There was enthusiasm for having regular evening meet ups, but people wanted the format to be different and to learn from our own mantra – less talking more doing! A date for the next one is the 1st August and will take place later on in the evening so that Good for Nothingers can get there after work. Need to think about how we create a space for doing, and can use this space to select future projects.

Following this conversation we started to talk about projects for the next event. Some specific projects were discussed, and from this some clear themes started to emerge:

  • Asset mapping – this came up again and again. There is a need for communities to start to identify the skills in their borough and learn how to engage and enthuse with people who have the skills needed for particular projects. There is a need to learn how to recognise skills – for example someone may be great at project planning, but they wouldn’t necessarily call their skills ‘project planning’. A pool of resources needs to be created which could be utilised by a range of projects.
  • Adding value to existing networks –there is a diverse range of communities and different groups and networks in Lambeth, an excellent resource that would largely welcome being utilised. Yet bringing them together to work presents its own challenges, how can we do so in a way that adds value, not undermines organic structures. A problem which Made in Lambeth could happily tackle!
  • Incentivisation – Why should people get involved in the cooperative council, what’s in it for them? In order to engage people you need some form of reciprocity, Made in Lambeth could explore this and come up with ways of engaging the unengagable!

We can explore these themes in more detail at our next get together. As mentioned above the next meeting will be on the 1st august at 6pm, and we hope to create a more relaxed set up with no set agenda. If you want to come along do so between 6-8pm, with the aim of making things as much as possible. If you have any ideas for this, please let me know.

Another date for the diary is the 13/14 October 2012 – the second Made in Lambeth event.

See you then!

Nathan Pierce


Coproduction Action Learning Set

June 20, 2012

Over the past year Lambeth Council has run a Coproduction Action Learning Set – an informal network where Lambeth staff share learning and ideas about coproduction. Coproduction is a simple idea, and one that has been explored on this toolkit in some detail. Each meeting allocates about half the time to exploring a theme related to coproduction; and the rest of the time to sharing challenges and successes enabling staff to support each other as they grow their skills in coproduction.

The May meeting focused on the role of procurement in coproducing services. The Action Learning Set heard a presentation from Eugene McLaughlin, Interim Head of Procurement at Lambeth and discussed ways the council needs to take a different attitude to risk in order to really deliver Cooperative Council values. The group also explored how residents might be more involved in the procurement process, ways in which procurement can be involved earlier in the process of commissioning a service and they also looked at what national and EU regulation could act as barriers to coproduction.

Future Coproduction Action Learning Set sessions will focus on:

  • July – Feedback from the Good for Nothing event. At this session we will have feedback regarding the Good for Nothing event from the three project leads (parks, council communications and health and social care services), highlighting the innovative methods of coproduction that were developed and looking at the problems or issues that arose.
  • September – Ensuring coproduction is inclusive/accessible to all. In this event we will explore how to identify what groups/individuals could be involved in coproduction, and how you then reach out and get them involved. We will also get detailed feedback from cultural services regarding the coproduction of Lambeth’s libraries.
  • November – Sustaining participation throughout the process. One of the key challenges in the sustainability of coproduction, is not just getting people involved for a one-off event, but sustaining an open dialogue over the longer term. This session will start to explore the theme of incentives and how you might use them to enable sustained coproduction
  • January – Managing conflicts/ facilitating between what stakeholders and senior managers/members identify as priorities. This session will describe Lambeth’s decision making process and explore how this may sometimes be a barrier to coproduction. It will explore how far the council is prepared to open up and accept the results of coproduction, and what changes need to be made to procedure/culture in order to improve.
  • March – Coproducing the ‘strategic’ rather than service. This session will consider the challenges associated with coproducing a high level strategy, rather than coproducing more practical front line services.

So far the Action Learning Set has been run as an internal group for the council. However, we are open to shared learning across a range of partners and organisations. So if you are interested in attending a future session then please contact me, Nathan Pierce, at npierce@lambeth.gov.uk.