What are we doing?
Although it takes time to make the changes that we need so that residents can be fully involved in co-production, we have made a positive start. Here are some examples.
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- Hammersmith Civic Campus project
One of the first successes has been the co-production work on the Hammersmith Civic Campus project, a huge public project, which includes refurbishment of the town hall and the development of new housing and a cinema.
A team of six Disabled residents (DRT) has worked with council officers from planning, the architects Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners and Proudlock Associates, which is a Disabled person led access consultancy.
This way of working ensured a high level of inclusive design throughout the process, something both residents and the architects have described as a pioneering way to work and not the usual way that things are done.
- Co-chair is a Disabled resident and residents are paid for their work.
- Residents were part of the team and not just seen as ‘service users’ - this built respectful working relationships.
- Disabled residents helped identify barriers to working together as a team and to find solutions to remove them.
- Residents involved nearly all the way through.
- Early practical difficulties were resolved, for example meeting each other's access needs.
- Everyone took part in Diasability equality training team building workshop, learning together.
- The architects say this way of working has saved time and money in the long term.
The planning application was agreed in February 2019 and Disabled residents continue be part of the team all the way through. The work has been shortlisted for a National Planning Award 2020.
Barriers faced by Disabled people in using buildings and open spaces were raised early before plans were submitted rather than left to detailed design at a later stage. This way of working together allowed robust solutions to be found early as well as saving time and money for the developer. This is most unusual and should be adopted in all major development projects.” – Jane Wilmot, Co-chair Disabled Residents Team
- Improving direct payment support in H&F
Direct payments are a way for Disabled residents to have more choice and control over the care and support they receive, by having the money directly to choose how to meet their needs. People who use direct payments say they make a real difference in supporting them to live independently like non Disabled people.
An independent review by Ruils (pdf 167KB), an organisation run and controlled by Disabled people, looked at direct payment support in the borough and made a number of recommendations to improve things.
Residents who use direct payments have worked with the council to find new ways to support better use of direct payments in response to the report’s recommendations. Work has included:
– Setting out what good direct payment support looks like – this is summarised in the graphic below. This has set the standard of what people can expect and makes up part of what the direct payment support service must deliver. This information is set out in the contract.
– Setting up a new direct payment support service, funded by the council from January 2020, based at Action on Disability (AOD), a local Disabled People’s Organisation (DPO). The service delivers all aspects of direct payment advice and support as well as facilitating peer support so direct payment users learn and gain strength from each other.
– Direct payment users have been team members of the steering group to support and oversee the contract for the direct payment support service. This group will help steer the future of the service - making sure the service is helping to improve people’s experience of direct payments. This helps to ensure that residents get what they need as contract monitoring and evaluation happens in a different and ongoing way.
– Residents working with the council to co-produce improvements to make it easier and smoother to set up direct payments.
Co-production is at the heart of this work every step of the way. Disabled people are involved in making important decisions about the service, so it is accountable to Disabled people who use direct payments and results in more individual choice and control.
This is a summary of what residents said good direct payment support should look like:
- Simple information that is jargon free
- Helpful and human support
- Clear rules
- It's all about choice, control and independence
- Respectful interactions that keep me informed
- Practical employer advice
- Empowering assesssments
- Being informed
- Trained staff that know how it all works
- A clear pathway so I know what is possible
- Budgeting and finance support
- A user led independent living service
- Access to council services
Working with residents to review how residents can access council services.
- The Disability Forum Planning Group
Resourcing the Disability Forum Planning Group to make sure that new planning applications create new buildings that are accessible and inclusive for everyone.
- Disabled People's Housing Strategy
The strategy (plan) was developed in co-production with Disabled people as good quality housing is very important in supporting Disabled residents to have choice and control in their lives.
This plan addresses how the council will work to ensure the best housing options for Disabled residents in the borough and puts into action some of the recommendations of the Disabled People's Commission in the context of housing service delivery.
H&F’s vision is to support Disabled residents to live as independently as possible (with support where appropriate) and have opportunities to access the appropriate housing options and suitable accommodation that meets their needs.
The plan contains four important goals:
- Create a culture of co-production with Disabled residents and work together with those residents to improve their influence in shaping housing services.
- Improve access to housing information with Disabled residents including housing options and housing services.
- Improve the council’s services as a landlord for Disabled residents.
- Identify ways to increase the supply of accessible and affordable housing to meet the needs with Disabled residents.
A group is being put together, which includes residents, to take this work forward.