Reflections on Fit for the Future

As the Fit for the Future project comes to its close and we wait for the final output to launch, I asked members of the FF steering group to share their final reflections…

“In starting this project we were venturing into the unknown.  We knew we wanted to support the private sector to be able to develop creative ways of providing support in the future but we were unsure what these would look like.  We were also dependent on the goodwill and enthusiasm of the providers and other partners we were working with.  Watching from the sidelines it has been a fascinating journey.  Rhiann has done a brilliant job of navigating the highs and lows of the project and has juggled a whole range of initiatives across the four areas with calm aplomb in a way which at times left me reeling – that’s why we’ve snapped her up for our core team!   Less exhilarating at times have been the challenges in many places in moving even the most modest changes forward – we need to be able to think beyond the first horizon.  And I have to confess my disappointment when we asked for people’s visions for the future; we all need to be a bit bolder and allow our imagination to roam if we really are to ‘fly’”.

– Alison Petch, Director, IRISS


“I welcomed the opportunity to work closely with providers in North Lanarkshire. I hope that the learning and  work we managed to complete is useful for others and is another step in the journey to reshape independent sector care services to be fit  for the future..”

– Hilary Stevenson, Scottish Care Development Officer for North and South Lanarkshire


“I think the Fit for the future project has been a invaluable project for a number of key points:

  •         showing providers new service models to help them develop their services and workforce for the changing demographics of the future
  •         highlighting the real current issues for providers, both from a financial sustainability point but also the difficulties in trying new models without supportive regulators and commissioners
  •         by working together (providers, commissioners and other key stakeholders)  we can make a difference
  •         small changes can influence bigger changes

My hope is that Scottish Government, COSLA, Care Inspectorate, JIT and other organisation see the independent sector as a valuable asset, and ensure it is sustainably funded so enable providers to have the capacity and confidence to develop services, invest in staff development, training and leadership which is essential when instigating change.”

– Anna Houston, Manager, Carewatch Care Services


“Not only does 2014 draw to a close but also the Fit for the Future project comes to its conclusion. When we began this at the end of 2013 I really did not know where it would lead, the initial outline being so wide in its scope, but with the drive and innovative thinking of the project lead, the enthusiasm and commitment of the service providers, we managed not one, but two, entirely separate projects in West Lothian. We have the Care Home Lab and the Care at Home service redesign, both excellent projects in their own right. Although Fit for the Future is officially coming to an end the work in both services participating in the projects continues with the providers continuing to develop the improvements within their own areas. Taking into account the commitment already shown I am sure they will be successful. I also hope that other providers will read the Project report and be inspired to try and improve their own services.”

– Robert Telfer, Scottish Care Development Officer for West Lothian and Renfrewshire


“As someone who was part of the creation of Fit for the Future in its conceptual days, I am delighted that it has fully met my expectations of it.  It has used innovation and creative thinking in the process, in the development of better outcomes for people and in negotiation with and persuasion of providers in the independent sector.  It has embraced challenges and occasional ‘failures’ as lessons learned and it has developed eminently useful information and tools for future use.”

– David Rennie, Workforce Consultant who manages Workforce Matters


Fit for the Future: The website


We are very excited about the upcoming launch of the Fit for the Future website early 2015!

Please stay tuned to hear when it goes live, and how you can use the resources available to help achieve better outcomes for older people.



Commissioning in Care@Home: The Event

This week we held an event in Argyll and Bute supporting members of the Independent Sector, NHS and Local Authority to develop ways to improve the commissioning of care.

The feedback was really positive!

Informative, interesting, worthwhilecareathom6 careathome5 careathome3 jimrobbbcareathome


Very good ideas and great joint working


Had a really good day. Have met good contacts from providers and we have arranged to meet in regards to future working


Good day. Let’s take this forward and make it happen


Very worthwhile – good opportunity to come together and share ideas.


Great discussions generated – positive and exhilarating


Very informative of ideas to take forward. Good joint working and identify some issues across A + B.


Really good for developing ideas. Next steps need more work!

This event was about starting the process of change – and we can’t wait to see what comes out of it!

Beginning Caring Conversations

By: Anne-Lise Heinrichs

It’s all happening in FALKIRK!

This week Fit for the Future had our first session of Caring Conversations with a group of staff who deliver care at home! This approach has been used before in residential settings – but this is our first try working with care at home staff.

We had really rich discussions where we pushed to think about ‘what it means to be a carer’ and what makes for good interactions.

The course is really about learning from experience and learning from trying – to support the group to create their own ways of working with each other and the people they support to build brilliant relationships!

What struck me from our first session was that I had made the assumption that this group wouldn’t know each other and support each other in the way that residentially based teams would – because they worked solo! But – the members all talked about how they ask each other for support and guidance and value their colleagues!

We can’t wait to hear (and share!) more from our caring conversations…





Caring Conversations – It’s about the connection!

This month we will be beginning our ‘caring conversations’ sessions with Advanced Care Ltd in Falkirk!


We can’t wait to bring together this group of staff to think about relationships and connections.


For some information on how caring conversations have been used before (and some interesting case study stories), watch Creating connections through caring conversations


We’ll keep you all up to date with how we connect and what we choose to do differently!

Scottish Care Care at Home and Housing Support Conference 2014

Some highlights from the recent care at home and housing support conference:

  • There were more providers than ever at the event.. does this mean they are ready to engage/looking for guidance?
  • There was discussion on the investment into care at home services as the future of care
  • Many speakers openly condemned 15 minute visits as a whole – and in my talk I attempted to push this further… should we be commissioning based on time at all?!

Discussion on the value of support staff and concern surrounding:

  • – the ‘ageing staff generation’
  • – poor terms and conditions
  • – expectations vs. reward
  • – making staff genuine partners
  • Trusting staff to do their jobs and know their roles and the people they support
  • But… there weren’t many front line staff in attendance – I wonder what their response would have been?

However, later in the event there was a comment from Colin Angel, Policy and Campaigns Director at United Kingdom Homecare Association who said that staff should be aware that CCTV is easy to install.. and they can be watched and broadcast! I know I was certainly uneasy about the tension between trusting staff and making them partners and threat

Care Inspectorate

It was also great to have representation from the Care Inspectorate there to discuss maintaining public faith and changes and improvements in care services across Scotland. The best stats? We have 4 times as many people getting home care than in hospital -98% of that care is bring delivered well or better !

The debate on SDS stressed a few things:

  • INFORMATION IS KEY! (speaking of… have a wee look at
  • SDS is a real opportunity for people.. but also for providers to respond to emerging demands.
  • It can be a real postcode lottery as each local authority has a different approach and some aren’t in the best interest of people who access support
  • Relationships must be at the core of SDS – it isn’t a way to repackage existing failing systems.

If you weren’t able to make the day and want to see some other folks’ highlights- it’s all available on the tag #careathome2014.


Dementia Awareness Week

This week is Dementia Awareness week (#DAW2014) and Fit for the Future considers some lessons that we have learned from working with people with dementia in our Primecare Dementia Design group:

  • Don’t underestimate the ability of people with dementia to make valid and meaningful contributions – in our group they have weighed in on training for staff, outcomes focussed working and supervision. They aren’t just giving the perspective of somebody who uses support, they have years of professional and life experience!


  • Sometimes direct questioning isn’t the best approach and it’s best to hold conversations based on experience and introduce themes through the conversations.


  • What might seem like an offshoot or a tangent is sometimes actually on topic, but the person is struggling to find the words they’re looking for. A bit of patience and they sometimes get there themselves! We try not to interrupt people as they find their words..


  • We know to be aware that some of our activities/exercises may not work – and are ready to abandon them in favour of what would be better for the people in the group.


  • Regular breaks help!


Feedback is a Cycle

At the recent Primecare Dementia Design Meetings, we discussed feedback as a way for clients and carers to be part of staff supervision.

We decided that feedback wasn’t a one-way system, but actually it’s really important for individuals and their families to know and understand what is being done as a result of their feedback.

An example of a feedback cycle can be seen in this imagined service story:
service story feedback


BBC2’s “Protecting Our Parents”

Mainstream media coverage of the realities of life for older people in the UK is a welcome addition to the debate around the future of care and support!

We have been watching the BBC documentary “Protecting Our Parents”. There are some elements of the show which are difficult to watch- but it does a great job of highlighting the complexity of supporting older people to stay at home in the community in a system that doesn’t always facilitate this.

The show is available on BBC Iplayer