Why Local Matters at Cornerstone14 Mar 2019
By Mairi Martin, Leader (Cornerstone Central)
Local means something different to all of us. For me, it’s that my favourite local café owner knows I prefer a latte to a cappuccino. For my husband, it’s his football team, and for my Granda, it was that his local newsagent knew what newspaper he liked to read.
At Cornerstone, local has many meanings. On a practical level, it’s providing a continuity of care to ensure the people that we support receive the care and support they need. We believe that every person deserves to lead a valued life, and it’s often the little things we do that matter to the people we support and their families. Our local team would know that Mary likes two sugars in her tea, Richard needs his medication at a specific time every day, and Ross has a fear of pigeons. It’s people caring about people, and at Cornerstone, local is as simple as that.
At a strategic level, local means encouraging our Local Care and Support Teams (LCAST), who are self-organised, to make the decisions that are right for them. We have over 2,200 colleagues supporting nearly 3,000 people across Scotland. We can’t do it alone, so local also means developing relationships and partnerships with decision makers in local government and regulatory bodies who can pass legislation to support initiatives that help us to work more efficiently. It is also about working with other key partners who are passionate about what we do as we work on joint initiatives that directly benefit the people we support.Working locally also means making the best use of digital technologies to ensure our processes are easily accessed by our independent teams. Our hub at Cornerstone Central supports the local teams by making relevant documentation and procedures available on smartphone and tablet devices. Replacing paper files with real-time data makes it possible to stay connected and up-to-date to offer more efficient service for the people we support, and a flexible approach for our colleagues. For example, our colleague’s use integrated apps to help them plan their day accessing rotas, care plans, updating records, and communicating essential information to all colleagues at the touch of a button. Our colleagues having easy to access information means they have more time to spend with the people we support.
Cornerstone’s approach has been heralded as a significant change, especially in the social care sector. To ensure our colleagues are part of this journey, we are cultivating a coaching culture. This means empowering people to make decisions to achieve a positive outcome and allowing individuals to take ownership of a situation regardless of job title or function. Colleagues who are working in an LCAST are trusted, empowered, supported when they need it and being creative means the quality of care is better and personalised to that person.
For me, local means making a difference to the lives of those around you. That might be enjoying a perfect cup of coffee, our teams managing their own workload, or my colleagues remembering to add two sugars to Mary’s cuppa. Every person deserves to live a valued life, and by working at a local level, we can support our colleagues to provide an excellent service to the people we support involving them and linking up with their local community to maximise opportunities for them.