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Published: March 31, 2016
1st July 2015 – 31st March 2016
- Executive Summary
- Bridging Strategy Priority 1 - Co-Production
- Bridging Strategy Priority 2 - Our Customers
- Bridging Strategy Priority 3 - Our People
- Bridging Strategy Priority 4 - Our Operational Systems
- Bridging Strategy Priority 5 - Our Finances
- Bridging Strategy Priority 6 - Our Governance
- Key Statistics
- Continuous Project Pipeline
This report shows performance against the bridging strategy from the 1st July 2015 – 31st March 2016.
2. Executive Summary
This has been an extremely successful 9 months of steady progress since the launch of the organisation on the 1st July 2015. Indeed, all objectives set out in the bridging strategy have been achieved and in most cases well exceeded, supporting ILF Scotland in establishing itself as a robust, resilient, proactive and high performing public body.
The main effort from an operational perspective initially was to transition all recipients from DWP to ILF Scotland by ensuring all payments were made accurately, on time and to set up new business systems, policies and processes. To date ILF Scotland has made 33,230 payments totalling
£39,871k with only 3 individual errors in the first month due to incorrect information from DWP. Since then, the focus has been on recruiting the staff team, implementing and becoming more familiar with inherited business systems and policies, completing all urgent reassessments, reducing the overdue visits and establishing relationships with key stakeholders.
What has been clear from this operational activity and continued feedback from all parties, are the significant upward cost pressures centred around employment law related issues, highlighted in the previous reports connected to current award recipients. These include increases in the statutory national minimum wage and living wage, statutory sick pay, pension’s auto-enrolment, sleepovers and the cost of living, all against a backdrop of wider public sector austerity, changes in legislation and increased obligations especially around employment of staff.
Coupled with this, as staff have worked through the full operational process, a clearer picture is emerging of the relationship between ILF and our statutory partners. Whilst it is encouraging that ILF Scotland Assessors are primarily reporting good practice from partners, despite the challenging backdrop, some significant concerns are also being highlighted. Of particular concern is the pattern of changing treatment of ILF Scotland funds by some Local Authorities/Health and Social Care Trusts, together with a lack of awareness of ILF Scotland policies among some front line Social Work staff. These issues are being addressed in collaboration with COSLA, Social Work Scotland and key partners in Northern Ireland to up skill front line staff and look at appropriate solutions to the funding challenges.
Another theme that has emerged over the course of our first nine months of operation is the challenge presented by the inherited policies, processes and systems when they have been mapped across to ILF Scotland. As a result of this the staff team have spent considerable time making continuous improvements and have an ambitious plan of essential development work scheduled for the next year (this is mapped out on the gannt chart in Annex A).
Through the reporting period we have received 5,330 telephone and 792 email enquiries totalling 6,122 enquiries. 85% of enquiries relate to Scotland and 15% to Northern Ireland, with the main themes being:
- Reassessment Visits
- Requests for information from Assessors
- LA calls for information – payment schedule, threshold sums, etc
- Completion of agreement forms
- Payments and payment increase requests
- General (this includes confirmation of information not covered above, new fund enquiries and general information about the organisation)
Other major areas of work have included establishing and bedding in corporate systems such as health and safety, HR and finance in tandem with running induction programmes for new staff and the Board of Directors.
Another major area of work, has been the strategic planning process and implementing a robust governance structure. Work is now well advanced relating to the future of ILF Scotland, with a draft co-produced strategic plan completed ready for further consultation prior to sign off. This is complimented by major progress around governance arrangements, including additional recruitment of 2 more Board members and further review to ensure ILF Scotland are future proofed.
In addition to the aforementioned work, considerable effort and progress has been made around our corporate communications. This has included:
- Significant stakeholder engagement
- Re-developing our website following feedback from recipients and award managers because in its current form, it is not as accessible as we would wish
- Updating our publications and forms to make them less complex and more accessible
- establishing a social media presence
Over the coming year we would will be increasing our online presence including the views to our website from 22,613 in 15/16, Twitter followers from 359 and Facebook presence from 20 likes.
Throughout the first 9 months ILF Scotland have been very conscious of the pubic commitments made by the Scottish Government in relation to ILF funding, namely that: -
- The fund will be protected for current recipients so long as they remain eligible;
- Disabled people will be at the heart of the decision making process in the new ILF Scotland, and;
- Through a process of co-production a new fund will be opened this financial year following the allocation of an additional £5 million by the Scottish government.
This has resulted in a real drive for ILF Scotland to strive at all times to deliver on these commitments. To that end, the CEO and Chair of Directors reported to the Minister for Sport, Health Improvement and Mental Health that there are concerns about the ability to meet the third commitment within the expected timescale. This is because developing an agreed model of co-production has taken more time than anticipated, and therefore the process of co-producing the new fund will not begin until well into 2016/17.
Once underway, there are considerable complexities to be considered before policy decisions are confirmed, and new processes and systems within ILF Scotland will need to be developed before the new fund is operational. These concerns have been discussed by the ILF Scotland Project Development Board (now disbanded), where there was consensus that it would be preferable not to rush the development of the new fund in order to minimise the potential for mistakes, and to allow sufficient time to develop the criteria for the new fund. In addition to Scottish Government, this Board consisted of representatives from Disabled Peoples Organisations, Voluntary Sector organisations, Social Work Scotland and COSLA. A new working group including all the aforementioned groups has been set up to support the co-production of the new fund.
We believe ILF Scotland is quickly gaining a reputation for professionalism and flexibility with our fund recipients and keys partners. We have utilised the strong foundations laid by ILF prior to the 1st July 2015 to develop an organisation focussed on delivering high quality outcomes to support the independent living needs of disabled people in Northern Ireland and Scotland. At the heart of this is our model of intervention i.e. person-centred professional recommendations with inclusion, trust and dignity as overarching values filtered through our specialised casework teams, meaning we can evidence that we are fairly, consistently and humanely applying complex rules and regulations.
In summary, ILF Scotland has achieved all objectives set out in the corporate plan for 2015/16. The key priorities over the coming months will be confirmed within the new organisational strategy but are expected to include: -
- development of existing operational policies in relation to equality issues and economic pressures on current fund recipients;
- strengthening our critical organisational foundations;
- further bedding in key systems;
- reviewing inherited processes and business systems with a view to improve these significantly;
- increasing the operational tempo, especially around reassessment visits;
- development of the new fund;
3. Bridging Strategy Priority 1 Co-Production
ILF Scotland, in line with the clear direction set for us by Scottish Ministers, will strive to ensure disabled people and their representatives are at the heart of decision making in our organisation. We believe that by working from the start in co-production with disabled people (and other stakeholders) we will be best placed to maximise independent living outcomes with our customers.
4. Bridging Strategy Priority 2
People who receive funds from ILF Scotland are our customers, and our job is to provide them all with excellent customer service.
5. Bridging Strategy Priority 3 Our People
Our people are critical to our success. We aim to support all of our staff to fulfil their potential and to contribute fully to the success of ILF Scotland. We aim to ensure that every single member of our team, regardless of their specific role, understands that what they do and how they do it impacts on the lives of our customers.
6. Bridging Strategy Priority 4 Our Operational Systems
Our operational systems are the tools we require in order to function effectively, achieve our objectives and comply with our statutory and regulatory obligations. We have inherited some systems from ILF UK, all of which require to be reviewed to ensure they meet our needs, whilst we need to develop a number of business critical systems for ourselves.
7. Bridging Strategy Priority 5 Our Finances
Our finance function requires considerable development work to ensure effective financial planning is in place, supported by an on-going system of routine scrutiny of financial performance against plan. We aim to administer ILF Scotland as efficiently as possible, striking the optimal balance between resourcing our organisation sufficiently to achieve our objectives including excellent customer service, and minimising the proportion of the fund spent on this resourcing.
8. Bridging Strategy Priority 6 Our Governance
We understand the importance of sound governance for our organisation, and are committed to developing effective and robust governance arrangements. Although responsibility for appointing Directors to our company board sits with Scottish Ministers, we will work with our Scottish Government colleagues to support the initial set up and longer term development of our board.
1. Key Statistics
The following tables show the key statistics for the period 1st July 2015 – 31st March 2016.
a. Table 1: Payments to ILF Scotland Recipients
Note: the above figures show CASH paid, not accruals
b. Table 2: ILF Scotland Recipients
c. Chart 1 & 2: Visits Allocated
d. Chart 3 & 4: Reassessment Reports Received
e. Table 4: Requests for Information (THIS TABLE NEEDS CHECKING)
f. Table 5: Decision Review, Complaints and Panels (Appeals)
f. Table 6: General Statistics
Note: the above figures show CASH paid, not accruals