Consultancy for change

On this page Doreen Kelly, Director of Beyond Limits, talks about Beyond Limits consultancy services.

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I have been working in health and social care services since the early 1980s.

In that time I have learned two important things:

  • tailor made is better than off the peg
  • stay small, emulate big.

 Tailor made

Services only work properly when they are designed to ‘fit’ people, taking into account their needs as well as their hopes and ambitions for themselves. If you want to design a service that really works and is truly person centred, you have to learn about the person you are being asked to support. Find out from them and people close to them what they like, what they want to do with their lives, where they want to live, and then plan a service to respond to what they’ve told you. It’s like buying a suit or a dress.

Photo of Doreen Kelly at work.
Doreen Kelly at work.

If you go to a tailor you can tell them what colours, style and fabric you like. They listen to what you want, take your measurements and make something that fits well, which you feel comfortable in, and which can, if you wish, last a lifetime. That’s the approach we take to service design. It’s better for the person supported, because they get what they want, and it makes sense financially because the chances of costly placement breakdowns are virtually eliminated.

Stay small, emulate big

In today’s competitive market providers have to find a way of staying small and responsive, while getting the economies of scale of bigger organisations.

Small organisations tend to be less procedure-bound, more flexible and more approachable. This is crucial in social care, because you have to be ready to change how you do things to meet the changing needs and demands of the people you support. Often if an organisation is unable to do this it leads to expensive placement breakdowns, which have both a financial cost and a potentially serious human cost.

Even so, bigger organisations have economies of scale, which can give them more influence and power. Our approach is to get the best of both worlds, by forming networks of small, person-centred organisations that can share functions like finance and HR support, and office premises. So we can stay small and emulate big.

We have lots of evidence that this approach works, both here in Devon and in Scotland. An example is the 2105 Award we received for our work with Plymouth Community Healthcare team.

If you are interested in the Beyond Limits approach I am available to talk with you about how you can make it real in your organisation. Please get in touch.

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Doreen Kelly, Director Beyond Limits