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The voice of Scotland’s vibrant voluntary sector

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Collaboration is working in social care

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Scottish third sector organisations are demonstrating the power of working together to help meet social care needs

Third sector social care providers are working together to provide innovative ways to provide flexible person-centred support to Scots.

A new report from the Coalition of Care and Support Providers in Scotland (CCPS) explores four third sector collaborations within social care.

It found that successful collaborations are built on trusted relationships where people and organisations have a strong shared vision for the people they serve.

The report explores collaborations often within different areas of the care sector, where services are integrated and complementary but maintain a distinct identity.

Inverclyde Connections, for example, was set up in 2015 to focus on promoting creative use of people's social care budget through a range of community-based activities for people with disabilities. It is a partnership between The Advisory Group, KEY, Turning Point Scotland, Quarriers and Inverclyde Health and Social care Partnership.

Making Recovery Real in Dundee brings together public and third sector partners and the Scottish Recovery Network with the intention of increasing the focus on recovery and improving the experience and outcomes for people living with mental health issues.

The report also highlights that collaborations play a role in strategic decision making and often involve statutory partners.

They also make better use of limited resources and support, such as providing in-kind staff time. And they are also often developed as a result of independent funding.

The report also looks at the Glasgow’s City Ambition Network and the Connecting Fair Deal and Support for Ordinary Living partnership.

Annie Gunner-Logan, director at CCPS, said: “This timely and important piece of work should help to bust the myth that third sector providers are all cut-throat competitors that don’t or won’t talk to each other.

“It sets out and explores the range and depth of current provider-led collaborations all geared, critically, to deliver better outcomes for people; in doing so, we hope it will encourage commissioners, in particular, to consider how they might create the conditions for more successful third sector partnerships in the interests of the people we all exist to serve.”

Though the desire to shift from competition towards collaboration is now broadly accepted across the sector, the challenge is how to build relationships between commissioners, providers, supported people and communities.

The report details findings on the conditions required to support successful collaboration and outlines the strengths of the four models, and the areas requiring work.

It also provides a Collaborative Providers Index; a practical tool to support organisations looking to strengthen their own collaborative efforts.

Anna Randle, chief executive of Collaborate, which did the research for CCPS, said: “This new research illustrates the huge promise of collaboration and that it is possible to overcome the barriers to make a real difference to people’s care and support.”

Scottish Government health secretary Jeane Freeman supported the report. She said: “The Scottish Government is committed to doing all we can to help those working in social services and healthcare, local organisations and communities work together to support people to live independently for as long as possible.

“This report details how vital this collaboration is and gives very helpful examples from across Scotland. It provides important information that everyone across care can learn from.”



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