Wednesday, 5 August 2015

Freda Lacey on her new role in the Health and Social Care (H&SC) team, PAVO

Handing over the role - Senior Officer Health & Social Care
L - R: Trish Buchan (now on Powys Teaching Health Board), Freda Lacey (new in post)
One of my Health and Social Care team colleagues recently said to me that I should introduce myself to the Sector and tell people who I am. Because I’ve worked for PAVO in the Mental Health team for several years, I’ve assumed people know who I am. However, I recently met and had a very good conversation with the manager of the Brecon Volunteer Bureau who hadn’t heard of me before, so, I thought it probably was time to make myself more widely known.

The role

I have been recruited to fill the vacancy of Senior Officer Health & Social Care, as left by Trish Buchan who is now the Third Sector Organisation rep on the Powys teaching Health Board. At the time I started the nature of the role needed to shift to respond to current changes within procurement and commissioning, both in terms of the national context with new European Union guidelines, and locally, as more joint commissioning initiatives between the Health Board and Local Authority are developed.

I’m in the 7th week of being “inducted” into my new role and, in many ways, I feel familiar and comfortable with the direction of travel. I’ve been reflecting on the changes I’m witnessing and while the nature of the work is somewhat different to what I had been doing within my previous role in Mental Health, this new work also relies on a foundation of forming good relationships and engendering open, timely communication between the Sector and our colleagues within the Health Board and Local Authority.

My role can be broken down into several key activities:

  • To help broker possibilities for collaboration within the commissioning process.
  • To act as a conduit for timely information and response.
  • To offer general and focused support to organisations and networks responding to business development opportunities.
  • To represent the third sector on strategic management boards with Health Board and Local Authority colleagues.
Ultimately I am there to help ensure that voluntary organisations involved in Health and Social Care are engaged and equipped with what they need to respond quickly to changing needs within public services.

This is me 

So who am I personally? I’m drawn to use a process/initiative which forms part of caring for people who have been diagnosed with a dementia to help me tell you who I am. Publicised by Alzheimer’s Society, their “This is me” activity provides the tools for telling the key parts of someone’s life story. I’ve found the process very fruitful as an exercise in self-reflection and hope that it gives you a flavour of who I am - you can read it here

L - R: Freda Lacey, Claire Powell, Anne Clark, Ruth Middleton - Health & Social Care team

Who are we as a team and what are we about?

Pete Lathbury is the Head of Third Sector Support and as such helps give our team direction.

There are four of us (two part-time and two full time) in the Health and Social Care team. Myself, two third Sector Brokers – Anne Clark and Claire Powell, and Ruth Middleton who helps collate and provide vital information to the Sector on Health and Social Care news and manages our network events.

In reflecting on my first seven weeks’ highlights:

  • I have helped plan and deliver a recent Health and Social Care Network event.
  • Attended a Virtual Ward meeting in the North in addition to engaging with the Third Sector Brokers as they attend others that are being developed or rolling out rapidly.
  • Helped facilitate two Sector meetings with colleagues providing Carers’ Services that are being recommissioned by the Council.
  • Initiated 10 meetings with Sector, Local Authority and Health Board key influencers.
  • Met with the Local Authority commissioner and Disability Powys relating to the Physical Disability and Sensory Loss (PDSL) commissioning engagement strategy.
  • Met and discussed service level agreements with three Health and Social Care third sector organisations delivering services for older people.
  • Attended a scoping workshop with the Health Board looking at their Strategy for Consultation and Engagement.

Freda updates attendees at the recent Health & Social Care Network event

To say my first seven weeks have been eventful would be an understatement and yet, I am finding the work very varied, interesting and exciting. I am also endeavouring to be mindful of my capacity, that of the team and balancing priorities.

The process of change, in having to respond to the Council and Health Board’s challenges about reducing costs, the needs of the citizens of Powys, and the current landscape of shifting more public services into and onto the community, are all driving the strategic public agenda forward at a rapid rate of acceleration.

While there are always opportunities in transforming services, there are also threats to the ways things have currently been and expected to be (sometimes for years) and the levels of discomfort and fear that rapid change engenders cannot be under estimated.

One of the important parts of my role, and the team’s going forward, is to ensure that we provide timely communication about what is happening, provide a forum for sharing information, and ensure that the Sector can jointly collaborate within local, strategic service planning and delivery.

I am very much looking forward to getting to know Health and Social Care colleagues in more depth and gaining greater understanding of the pressures being faced. I welcome open contact, communication and feedback.

So do get in touch by emailing or calling 01597 822191.

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