By Toby Lowe & Dawn Plimmer


How can those who fund, commission and undertake social interventions respond better to the complexity of the real world, and real people’s lives?

This is our core question.

In 2017, we released a report which outlined a new approach. This report was called: ‘A Whole New World: Funding and Commissioning in Complexity’.

Over the last twelve months we’ve been working alongside organisations who have adopted this complexity-informed approach, and those who have started to take this journey. Learning alongside these organisations we’ve learnt what responding to complexity requires

It means having:

  • The capacity to respond to variety –each person’s strengths and needs are different, and so standardised services don’t adequately meet these needs.
  • The ability to adapt to change – the context in which social interventions are undertaken constantly changes, from micro–scale changes in personal circumstances to large scale social change. This means that the nature of the challenges and ‘what works’ to meet those challenges is continually shifting. Social interventions must be able to continually adapt to reflect these changes.
  • The ability to shape the patterns of results in systems whose behaviour can’t be reliably predicted, and which no one controls. This demands collaboration and influencing, rather than command and control.

When the world is complex, this is what is required of us.

And from this, we’ve learnt what complexity-informed practice looks like, according to the people who are doing it. From listening to the way that people describe this approach, we’ve called it a Human, Learning, Systems (HLS) approach.

It means:

  • Being Human to one another – responding to Variety, building relationships with Empathy, using Strengths-Based approaches and offering Trust. It means liberating staff from misguided attempts to proceduralise what happens in good human relationships, and instead creating the context in which they can have good human relationships. It means creating public service which is bespoke by default.
  • Continuous Learning and adaptation – in complex environments “what works” is continuously changing, as people’s strengths and needs change, and as the wider system changes around us. This means we can’t purchase standardised services, and expect them to solve problems. Instead, we must create the conditions in which those working can continuously learn and adapt. We must pay organisations to continuously learn and adapt.
  • Making our Systems work better – Systems produce outcomes. So, to make better outcomes, we need to make our systems work better. We need commissioners who are System Stewards – people who make it easier for people to connect and collaborate, so that our systems work to serve the people who they are supposed to benefit.

We’ve just published a new report which outlines what this practice looks like, so you can read in greater depth what the HLS approach looks like.

This report is called: Exploring the new world: practical insights for funding, commissioning and managing in complexity

If you’re interested in this approach, we’d love to know what you think of the report. And in the meantime:

  • Be human to one another
  • Keep learning all the time
  • Look after the health of the system


Toby Lowe –

Dawn Plimmer –


by Cath Barton

Screen Shot 2018-02-27 at 18.58.48I’m hoping the heading has grabbed your attention?

What’s my haltung?  Why does it get wrinkled?  What’s the difference when your haltung is nourished and why we all need to recognise our own haltung?

This blog aims to share my learning from my MA Social Pedagogy Leadership and for me, learning about haltung sticks out as the absolute lightbulb moment when everything made sense, in work, in life, how I behave and how I am supported.

So rewinding a little bit, let’s start by introducing social pedagogy:

“Social pedagogy describes a holistic and relationship-centred way of working in care and educational settings with people across the course of their lives…it has a long-standing tradition as a field of practice and academic discipline concerned with addressing social inequality and facilitating social change by nurturing learning, well-being and connection both at an individual and community level.” Gardner 2018

It’s not we do, it’s the way that we do it

For me, ‘social pedagogy’ is the ‘how’ of social work.  Social work in its broadest sense is the ‘what we do’ to support people, a whole range of services including, amongst others, children’s services, residential care and home care.

Social Pedagogy is ‘how’ we do this; enable people to have what matters to them in their life, provide great support, build relationships and support people to be part of their communities.

For more info check out Ali Gardner’s blog

Or have a look at my short introductory video

Social Pedagogy is primarily concerned with well-being, learning and growth and seeks to recognise and promote individual potential.  It is underpinned by the concept of ‘Haltung’, a German phrase roughly translating as ‘mindset’ or ‘attitude’.

Haltung is about how we guide our actions by what we believe in and how our values cause us to respond in a certain way.  Haltung is fundamental to social pedagogy because it demonstrates the importance of the professional being authentic.

According to Gabriel Eichsteller (Thempra) your haltung is not like a coat which you can take off at the end of your working day but rather your ‘skin’ that makes you who you are.

For me haltung is reflected in values; the fundamental beliefs of a person or organization, the guiding principles which determine behaviour.

Research shows that people who are consciously connected with their priority values are better equipped to lead with authenticity and suffer less from stress than people who are unaware of their personal priority values (Le Fevre 2018).

I first learnt about values doing a future leaders course with Wellbeing Teams, facilitated by Helen Sanderson and Emily McArdle, with contribution from Jackie Le Fevre, who passionately shared about the importance of values.  According to Jackie, values are “big, emotionally rich ideas that help us make sense of the world and our place in that world.  Our values lie behind our choices and our behaviours. Our values shape how we feel about, respond and rise to both our daily life and our ultimate grand plan.” (2018)

Completing my values profile and recognising the link with my haltung was a light bulb moment.   Emily, my critical friend, supports me to think bigger and deeper and asked “are there times when your values cause you to act in ways that aren’t helpful?.”  My initial response was, of course not!  But then I reflected a bit more…

My top value of belonging is described as “having a place or sense of home. To be devoted to people you consider family and to experience belonging and acceptance.”   My need to have a sense of belonging is at my very core, whether at home, with family, with those I’m close to and in work.  Remember haltung is a skin not a jacket and you can’t remove it, it’s who you are.  If I have a sense of belonging, I feel connected, joyful and productive.  It’s the feeling of being valued, of being part of something bigger.  When I don’t have a sense of belonging I sulk, feel left out and withdraw.

Having no sense of belonging wrinkles my haltung.  

The lightbulb moment learning about values and haltung helped me to understand why I behave in this way.

According to Brent at al (2017) “the ability to align our personal values and tap into our own intrinsic motivators is a wonderful privilege.”

Haltung and values are weaved like a golden thread through all aspects of Community Circles and Wellbeing Teams and underpin all we do; building authentic relationships, taking responsibility through the principles of self management, enabling people supported and team members to flourish, being creative and curious to deliver compassionate care and support.

I am in a wonderful position of working in a space of psychological safety, that space “where team members feel safe to take risks and be vulnerable in front of each other” Rosovsky (2015) where I can bring my whole self to work and ask for what I need.  It’s also great when you’re asked, “how can we nourish your value of belonging?”

My values now have a more prominent space on my one page profile, people around me know what nourishes and what wrinkles my haltung and this gives me a greater sense of purpose and wellbeing.  I’m conscious to reflect with colleagues about their haltung and how we can do more of the things that reflect our values.

Connection with values and recognising your haltung can increase innovation, productivity, trust, confidence and courage while reducing the harmful effects of stress and fear.

Find out what nourishes your haltung

Cath Barton

Community Circles


Le Fevre, J (2018)

Rosovsky, J (2015)

by Jon Hyslop

stepping_together_peoples copy.jpg 

As I understand it, this blog site is about looking at the opportunities for better social care. In my view we all have a strong genetic and social disposition towards valuing and supporting one another, which may be a suitably optimistic place to start. Most, if not all of us, also benefit from cultural, religious and philosophical traditions that embed these ideas, helping us to intuitively make good choices about supporting others. However the huge social changes over the past 200 years have made it difficult to sustain social systems of mutual support. The bureaucracies and institutions in which social care is embedded are recent inventions, and in some ways it’s no surprise that they struggle to keep up.

Many people reading this post will imagine that person-centred practice is at the cutting edge of modern social care, and may be surprised to hear one of the pioneers of modern social work, writing in 1981, describing the establishment of the welfare state the 1950s, in very similar terms.

“…social care … was based on realisation that individuals of any age must grow and be sustained as whole people if they are not to atrophy or become distorted as persons.”

Younghusband 1981: 18

During the early post-war period social care was stuck in buildings, sometimes the very work houses that the National Assistance Act 1948 had closed. In the 1960s care began to become available to people in their own homes, but it wasn’t until the ‘community care’ policy of the 1990s that a lot of the old long-stay institutions were finally shut. Nowadays it is nearly universally accepted that care should be provided in communities rather than in hospitals or care homes wherever this is possible. However, the concept of community is not straight-forward; it is mediated through culturally-informed expectations of relationships with other community members, of the opportunities communities offer people to lead the lives they want, and ultimately to become the people they want to be. These cultural expectations also vary according to age, social class, gender and ethnicity. The personalisation policies of the last decade often sought to work around this complexity by focussing exclusively on the individual. While the intentions were good, the effect has sometimes been to obscure the relationships with other people that give real meaning to the term ‘community’. The issues that I want to focus on in this post bring some of these ideas back towards the centre of the social care process.

In our explorations of support for personal budget (PB) and personal health budget (PHB) users in Oxfordshire, people have often told us that they needed more and better information. When we dug a bit deeper, many said they felt out of their depth, on their own, burdened by responsibility. Though expressed as a need for information, these feelings clearly had emotional and relational components that also call for a human response. This type of relationship can potentially be found in many places, for example with social care professionals, care workers and personal assistants, friends and family members, and other people in similar situations with health and social care services. Better social care requires consideration of how these relationships can be supported.

For many people, eligibility for state-funded support goes hand-in-hand with significant life-events such as psychological trauma, serious illness or permanent impairment. It should not surprise us that people will also be experiencing powerful emotions, and that engaging with these feelings is critical to helping people gain the confidence to move forwards with their lives. Yet contact with the state in this moment of crisis is often focussed on ‘care’ as an externalised object, to be quantified in hours and put into place as cheaply as possible and in the shortest period of time. This is not because professionals lack the theoretical knowledge, emotional warmth or willingness to engage. It is because they have been unwillingly positioned at the assessment gateway, where bureaucratic responsibility to manage risks and scarce resources (including their own time) precludes the types of relationship people actually find helpful. Fortunately, senior managers have realised that this approach is unsustainable and are seeking alternatives. The three conversations model being implemented by some local authorities advocates liberating professionals to work intensely with people at the point of crisis, which is definitely a step in the right direction. However it still falls short of the kind of long-term continuity that people say helps them to maximise control over their own lives. Meanwhile in the world of social work we have ongoing conversations about resilience, burn-out, short career lengths and high vacancy rates. The elaborate strategies developed to address these often miss the obvious – that social workers are not being allowed to do the thing that drew them into the profession in the first place. Better social care will involve taking professionals off the conveyor belt so they can get back to helping people.

Relationships between PB/PHB users and personal assistants were also an area of concern in our local work, and this is reflected nationally. Last year the 30.7% of the adult social care workforce left their jobs, with the highest turnover in private companies providing support to people in their own homes. Even before it became apparent that the toxic combination of fixed price and under-supply was leading to a race to the bottom in terms of quality, academic commentators had identified the inherent contradictions between care as a commodity and good quality care as people experienced it (Lewis & West 2014). Early on in the implementation of personalisation I met a young woman with no sight who rarely recognised the steady stream of new recruits that let themselves into her flat using the passcode provided by the agency, a far cry from the choice and control that PBs aimed to deliver. The principal omission of time-and-task models of care is the relationship between the people involved, which by definition ought to be caring. More recent research on the relationships between personal assistants and the people they work with has again confirmed that the emotional dimensions of the relationship are important to PB/PHB users, although managing this in a boundaried and ethical way is often challenging (Shakespeare et al. 2018). A better social care future is dependent on improving relationships between PB/PHB users, professionals and personal assistants, as well as the other people involved in the care process.

Relationships with other community members are also important. Local Area Co-ordination (LAC) is a relatively recent transplant from rural Australia, where the physical remoteness and strong tradition of mutual assistance provides the platform on which support is built. The co-ordinator makes use of local and personal knowledge to put people together with one another and with existing resources, only accessing statutory funds as a last resort. A key insight within this model is that when statutory resources are brought into play, they are used to ‘create new opportunities in the community’. Social prescribing is a similar idea, which looks likely to be rolled out as a part of the NHS Long Term Plan. Like LAC, the idea is to support people to access community resources, but in this case that support is commissioned through the NHS and focussed on general practices. Also like LAC, the literature highlights the importance of ‘building community assets’ instead of just harvesting them. While it’s great to see organisations like ADASS starting to talk about asset-based approaches, one gets the impression that some are simply seeing community resources as a cheap substitute for those purchased by the state. This overlooks the necessary role of the state in building and sustaining communities.

So far I have focussed on the groups of people who have already been historically positioned within the ambit of ‘social care’, but a brighter future depends on transcending these roles and identities. Thanks to pioneers in the disabled people’s movement, the importance of getting “…a life, not a service…” is widely understood. However, many basic local resources that used to provide social opportunities have disappeared over the last decade. A team evaluating integrated approaches to health and social care recently found that:

“Many of the sites had service models based on developing communities and self-care; however, the services that these models relied on (such as befriending services, lunch clubs, peer support, social activities, etc) had often been subject to financial cuts.”

Erens et al 2016:72

Nationally we are re-building from a low base, and this will take investment and time. A cut-and-run approach by the NHS and local councils is the opposite of what is needed. In Oxfordshire, local governments are taking some positive steps. The City Council has created a localities team to support development on a ward-by-ward basis, and the county has just completed its second round of small grant funding for innovative ideas for daytime opportunities and support. Nationally there’s a lot of great work on developing community enterprises and community business, led by the likes of Community Catalysts, Power to Change and the Plunkett Foundation. A better social care will be dependent on improving the opportunities available to people within communities, and this will require leadership within social care services to ensure that the assets of the state are transferred to communities rather than being withdrawn.

When social workers start talking about ideas like self-management and community resources, family carers often groan in anticipation. As the state rolls back, inevitably more falls to the family. This doesn’t have to be a bad thing, though. In my experience, the major problems are mismatched expectations, poor communication and trying to go from zero to infinity without taking baby steps. Early in my career I often saw family members give up work to look after parents with Alzheimer’s with no real idea of what they were taking on. How could they? The welfare state had absolved them of all responsibility until it couldn’t cope, at which point they were chucked in at the deep end. At that point in history we used measures of ‘carer burden’ to research the impact of closing institutions, a term widely hated by families who saw their relationships as a source of joy and fulfilment as well as being problematic. Positive new approaches such as Community Circles often start with careful mapping of people’s important relationships within families and beyond. This precedes negotiation about what people are prepared to do and any support or training they need. More widely good neighbour schemes, time banks, volunteer projects and so on can all develop people’s inherent capacity to support others, help them to work out their own limits, to find out what they can contribute, and to experience the rewards of doing so. All of us who work in social care have had friends say ‘Oh, I couldn’t do that’. Changing this is an important part of changing the wider narrative.

This post has focussed on the relationships most commonly thought as indigenous to the world of social care; those of service users with professionals, care assistants, family members and community volunteers. Ultimately, though, a better future for social care will need some of these concepts to be jettisoned. It’s now more than a quarter of a century since disability activists noted the tendency of ‘care’ to diminish the recipients by positioning them as dependent. Unhelpful cultural norms around work, illness, ageing and autonomy are all a part of the problem. Our ideas of social care are deeply embedded in an economic and political culture that is leading to widening inequalities, which are in turn increasing the very risks that welfare services were created to mitigate. A better future for social care must also be congruent with wider social changes focussing on reducing inequality and valuing lives more widely than their income-generating potential.


Jon Hyslop works with Community Glue CIC and teaches social work at Oxford Brookes University.



Lewis, Jane, and Anne West. (2014) “Re-Shaping Social Care Services for Older People in England: Policy Development and the Problem of Achieving ‘Good Care.’” Journal of Social Policy 43, No. 01 pp. 1–18.

Shakespeare, Tom, Andrea Stöckl, and Tom Porter (2018) “Metaphors to Work by: The Meaning of Personal Assistance in England.” International Journal of Care and Caring Vol. 2, No. 2 pp. 165–79.

Younghusband, Eileen (1981) The Newest Profession: A Short History of Social Work. Sutton: IPC Business Press.




A better way

In the last century our collective investment in the NHS and the wider welfare state helped bring about huge steps forward in the health and wellbeing of our country. Increased life expectancy, including a major reduction in infant mortality, greater prospects of survival into adulthood of children born with impairments and health conditions and a rapid growth in those aged 85 and over are some of the positive outcomes. One result is that there are more of us today that require support to live independently in our communities and to maintain our wellbeing.

We believe that it is possible for us all to reap this health and longevity dividend if we change how we think about and approach ‘social care’. To do so, we want to build a broad movement in pursuit of a hopeful, authentic, shared, story of change, just as radical and ambitious as that which delivered the massive improvements in health and wellbeing over the past 70 years.

We begin with a belief that we can do far better than offering only transactional ‘life and limb’ care. Rather, we believe that we can each be supported to make choices about where and with whom we live, on equal basis with others, to pursue our life goals and to be and feel connected to our wider community.

In our social care future, when we need support we will combine public and community resources with our own – shaping these to support us each to lead the lives we want to lead in our own homes and communities. We won’t be placed without de-facto choice into institutionalised places like large care homes or “units” far from home.   If we choose to live elsewhere this will be small scale, person centred, usually organised by local community led enterprise or business. We won’t talk about “beds” and “placements” in this future.

We start with the knowledge that examples of doing things this better way are already with us. Innovators have been developing better approaches to support, management and ownership and the use of professional skills. Groups of people using social care and community organisations have led the development of mechanisms that can transfer power to them and organisations that can support individual and group advocacy. We want to help move these approaches from the margins to the mainstream.

A social movement is needed because power in the system rests with a set of interests facing little pressure or incentive to drive change while users of the system lack power and influence. Traditional approaches, operating within this structure, can’t drive transformational change – keeping innovation at the margins. A movement is needed to generate and focus effective challenge through co-ordinated application of people power and to grow public and political support for major change. This needs to be combined with the enrolment of supportive system and policy allies inspired by a new mission and supplied with radical but deliverable alternatives to the status quo.

Without this pressure, our national infrastructure and the settlement between citizens and the state regarding care and support will continue to lag behind, with profound social and economic implications for our and future generations. Already, talk of our longer lives typically characterizes them not as a gift, but as a pressure, a burden and a cost to be contained. In turn, this framing is proving a barrier to securing the reform and investment required. Much of what we call “social care” is stuck delivering last resort services and practices little changed in 30 years. It has yet to develop to reflect the society we have become and will become over the coming years and continues to offer a narrow range of often undesirable or institutionalised services.

After ten years of savage financial cuts the social care service system has had to find ways to survive, but in places has also become more open to exploring options that harness and make better use of resources beyond state-funded services. This convergence of effective alternatives, advocacy and system unsustainability offers an opportunity. There is a chance to unfreeze the current system and change it. However this won’t happen without a catalyst. There are many groups and organisations playing specific roles in this space but none that is focussed on finding the convergence across them and developing and executing a strategy flowing from this.

This is what #socialcarefuture is starting to do.

From vision to action – what we are doing? 

We are growing a movement for change focused on three main elements:

  • Demonstrating attractive solutions via coalitions of the willing and exemplars, enrolling progressive professionals and leaders on a new mission
  • Changing the narrative – developing a “shared story of change” to energise the movement and build public and political support
  • Challenging the status quo and growing confidence through success

So far we have:

  • Issued a strong challenge to the system and call to action to those wanting radical change – using social media, blogs, gatherings and research
  • Gathered and shared 40 plus written testimonies, critiques and analyses of the current system along with examples of approaches/places offering “glimpses of the future”
  • Conducted research into media discourse and public thinking on social care, building interest in the production and dissemination of a new narrative
  • Networked and sought out links with diverse groups.
  • Connected with sector leadership and influencing groups to both challenge and explore possible alignments

The #socialcarefuture gathering in Manchester in November 2018 was successful in bringing together a large, diverse, group of people concerned about and prepared to act to bring about a better future for what we currently call social care. About 300 people attended plus many “walk ins” from the nearby NCASC18 conference. There was also a joint session with NCASC18 delegates which was very well attended and offered the opportunity for sharing and engagement on our issues and plans with system leaders. There has been significant publicity about the gathering and growing interest in both the ideas being generated and the potential momentum behind what could become a powerful movement.

As a result of the above, we now have a significant list of individual/local group commitments to action and offers of contribution including expertise, funding, organisation and several specific initiatives led and funded by relevant groups.

What’s next?

In the coming weeks and months we will be:

  • Bringing together the main ideas, materials and plans as a resource for a wider audience to share and grow further momentum and action. We hope this will be ready in March.
  • Continuing to publish leading-edge ideas and examples of innovation via the social care future blog.
  • Supporting the initiatives that have already emerged out of or that are aligned to #socialcarefuture including aligned support for those places willing to take serious action on becoming “asset based areas”; radical re-framing of the narrative on social care to shift ambitions and garner public and hence political support; a “more than a provider” initiative; the national self-directed support network to close the Care Act rhetoric-reality gap and the Innovation Network launched by SCIE and TLAP in February 2019. Others are likely and are being pursued but at an earlier stage of development.
  • Pursuing a social movement approach, with funding applications pending at the time of writing.

Our primary approach is to grow “coalitions of the willing” that forge the path ahead by building it, are not held back by moving at the pace of the slowest or feel a need to persuade everyone. However, we want to keep channels open and look for areas of alignment with system leaders where reasonable levels of engagement and effort can be of mutual benefit.  We are also continually exploring links and connections with others who are working in connected spaces or who have ideas and approaches that can help us.

We will now consider how we take the opportunity created to build a major movement and to help catalyse serious change. In Spring/Summer 2019 we will gather those who are actively involved in the initiatives or in co-ordinating activity together for a session to connect activity and plan next steps strategy and action.

In the meantime, thank you for being part of #socialcarefuture.


By Sian Lockwood, Community Catalysts & Susie Finlayson, Power to Change

Group photograph


Care in community hands

Across the country local people are deciding that social care provision should be different, and are developing and delivering local solutions that work better for their communities.

At #socialcarefuture we heard about the power of enterprising communities and the diversity of their solutions, from micro-providers delivering support to a handful of people to community businesses that deliver multiple activities for many local people.

Those in our space included groups delivering & receiving support (which in many cases overlapped) and local authority commissioners. We heard from a number of people including Rob Eyres who set up Telford After Care Team (TACT), Rob talked powerfully about his personal journey as well as that of his organisation. TACT supports people recovering from addiction and into employment. It started as a ‘micro-enterprise’ growing rapidly into an organisation that embodies the principles of a community business, being driven by and accountable to its users. In contrast Pip Cannon from Somerset Council spoke about the enterprising response of local people to the lack of home care provision in the most rural parts of the county. Each of the 400 enterprises is tiny, supporting a handful of people, but together they have significant impact, supporting 1500 people and delivering over 12000 hours of home care a week. Les Billingham from Thurrock Council set community enterprise within the context of a broader transformation journey that includes many other strengths-based initiatives and programmes.

The presentations were followed by activities which together generated a great deal of learning.

Key learning points were:

Community enterprises come in many forms, but operate under one set of principles

The business structure is not as important as the ethos of these organisations. They might be micro-enterprises, larger community enterprises, community businesses, social enterprises but they are part of a broader coalition of community based and led organisations delivering services that are genuinely responsive to the needs of the people who live where they are delivered. What they have in common is greater than that which divides them and they are part of a brighter future for social care.

Enterprising communities deliver services people want and need, where they want and need them

The key to their success is that they are based in and responsive to the needs of their communities. They generate income through a mix of personal budgets, self-funders, local authority contracts and other means. They can be very small, or have multiple staff delivering a variety of activities to many members of the community, but are part of a spectrum of community-led approaches to social care. By delivering what people want, where and when they want it, these organisations can help improve people’s lives and support local authorities to save money (or spend it more effectively).

Local authorities can commission and support enterprising communities if they are brave, committed and willing to shoulder some risk

The status quo is not inevitable. Some local authorities like Thurrock, Somerset and others are doing this differently. But this takes tenacity and bravery, and buy-in from across the organisation. Change will not happen overnight and there are bound to be some failures, but if local authorities are willing and able to persevere, invest and work with communities the outcomes for both people and local authority coffers can be positive. In the words of Les Billingham from Thurrock “…it turns out doing the right thing is also the most cost-effective thing very, very often.”.

The barriers to enterprising communities have to be tackled one by one in order for community solutions to thrive

We heard from community groups and commissioners about the barriers to community enterprise and business, which were to do with local authority systems and culture. These can be changed and many of the people sharing our space pledged actions they felt would make a difference. It was striking that pledges to work differently came from community enterprises and businesses keen to work differently with commissioners as well as local authority colleagues wanting to tackle systems and cultural barriers.

In conclusion

We know that enterprising communities are not the only solution to better social care but, through the gathering and the broader work of Community Catalysts and Power to Change, we see the power that enterprising communities have in delivering better care that is accountable to the people it serves and supports more efficient local authority spending.

Enterprising people keen to make a difference need help to tackle barriers and establish sound and sustainable services that are accountable to the people they serve. Local authorities are in the best place to offer that support but as we know from our speakers this needs courage, tenacity and imagination as well as willingness to accept a level of risk on the journey to better services. The rewards are immense and we hope that many more local authorities will want to take the same courageous and determined journey to thriving communities that care.