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News & Updates

26/05/17
Alpine have been selected as a provider for the following services on G-Cloud 9:

Assurance Peer Review & Gateway Services
Business Analysis
Business Architecture & Transformation
Business Case & Benefits Realisation
Change/Transformation Management
Cloud Feasibility, Strategy & Adoption
Data & Information Architecture Services
Enterprise Architecture
Managed Professional Services
Managed Service for Digital Transformation
Organisational Design & Process
Product Architecture
Programme Management
Project Management
Solutions Architecture
Supplier & Commercial Management
Systems Architecture Services
Technical Architecture Services
Transition Management Service
26/07/16
At the recent Alpine’s joint conference with the Local Government Association it struck me how much anxiety the Autumn Spending Review was generating. All the attendees were trying to figure how they continue to serve citizens amid more cuts.

Despite the room’s understandable preoccupation with finances, it amazed me how open everyone was to change, innovative ideas, and new ways of thinking around commercialisation. But then I thought - of course they are. The people who attend conferences like this are the early adopters: they’re the easy ones to get on board. So what about the people who weren’t there?

Of course there were those that could not get a place at the event (it was fully booked after four days!). But unfortunately it’s true the majority wouldn’t attend anyway. Yet they really need to hear these ideas, interact with inspiring people and be part of this discussion. Enthusiastic, open, early-adopters are only part of cultural and organisational change. It’s only when we can engage the majority, that we can truly embed sector-wide change.

New ways of working

There was a time when IT departments would develop tools and launch them with an organisational ‘big bang’. That was that: the IT department provided the tools, and moved on. But that is hardly an efficient way to lead and few within the organisation would use them.

No digital system exists in a vacuum and if it is to support better ways of working, proper change management is needed to help understand the people requirements alongside the business requirements. Change management is more than communication and marketing, training; and support on the day of launch. It should be about working with end-users to reduce their anxieties, help them learn new skills, and supporting them to adjust to the ever-changing needs of citizens in a digital world.

It is about understanding who your users are, how they function in the organisation, what and what working benefits the new system will provide them with. Based on this information you can design the overall journey for your users, taking them from concept to design, and from beta through to release and use. Back in 2008, I developed the ‘Get IT’ change methodology, to help engage users and involve staff at every stage of technical development. This provided a phased approach to help organisations increase adoption of new ways of working. When ‘Get IT’ was applied to the Department of

Education’s re-launched SharePoint intranet, we reduced transition time to business as usual by 30% – meaning, we helped people get back to working productively and as efficiently (or more) in less time than previous launches.

Understanding needs

To understand your users, you’ll need to get to know who they are, what they expect, how they like to be communicated with, and how they like to be supported. It doesn’t matter how you assess these needs - interviews, shadowing, or informal chats – as long as you observe, ask questions, and actively listening.

A couple of top tips:
  • Perfection is the enemy of the good: You’ll never get a truly ‘representative’ sample, so keep communicating and listening. The information you’ll get will help create in-depth profiles and use-cases.
  • People across the organisation will have different levels of skills. Some are ‘digital natives’ (never known a workplace without digital) and can adapt to using a variety of different tools with ease; and others are ‘digital immigrants’ who have learnt, but do not understand all the technical terms. Such know-how can be easily taught
  • The lesser skilled people are not your main challenge: understand who is willing to experiment, learn, and change - as this is harder to address than technical skill.

Once you have the information about your users’ skills you need to analyse what the new system will mean to your audience and how it will affect their working. That will inform how you communicate, train, and support staff in their transition.

You can also share this research with the senior management team to help them move away from the ‘one-size- fits-all’ approach to digital transformation, and to gain the resources and time required to address to meet the user needs you’ve discovered.

All new technology – whether it’s CRMs, mobile apps or intranets – is just a tool. The success of a transformation is not about the system, it’s about understanding the people who need to get things done, taking them on a journey to achieve the vision and, and giving them the means to get there.

Erica Hodgson is a digital business transformation professional specialising in improving organisational adoption of new technologies. Erica has a more than 10 years’ experience helping government departments improve their user engagement within cultural change programmes, and has implemented a number of award-winning, effective and sustainable change programmes across public and voluntary organisations.
26/07/16
In an increasingly tough economic climate many councils are considering outsourcing. In the face of relentless cuts it can be seen as an economic necessity.

But it should not be confused as an easy option for efficiency. The recent legal dispute between Cornwall Council and BT over its £160m outsourcing contract ought to be a cautionary tale.

Once a decision is taken to outsource, the responsibility for running a competition to find the most appropriate supplier is usually given to the procurement team. Their task is to ensure the competition is run in accordance with the contract scope.

However, the reality for most councils is that price becomes the main consideration when evaluating bids. But through many years of experience, we have found that if the price is too low and the supplier cannot make a desirable margin, something has to give. The likelihood is that the quality of the service will be poor, which can also ultimately damage the reputation of the council.

One of the key issues of procuring services from outsourced suppliers is the limitation of their own resources. The result is that the council finds itself in competition with the supplier’s other customers. And unless the supplier is making money, they will not prioritise the service by assigning their top talent.

In fact one of the most common bugbears of customers is that once the contract is won, the supplier appears to lose interest.

The only way to prevent this from happening is for councils to become savvy customers. One simple step is to put a client-side management plan in place, ensuring that your supplier keeps you updated on contract progress, performance metrics, and data on any emerging problems to mitigate risks and manage political queries.

Councils can retain the balance of control by setting service levels and targets for suppliers, supported by penalties for failing to reach them. Establishing mechanisms for financial recompense for poor delivery from the outset is an effective way of ensuring service quality. This is standard practice in the private sector. Suppliers may not expect this from the public sector – but is it key in becoming more intelligent customers.

Although service levels should be in the contract, councils should not rely solely on the written agreement and instead actively manage the relationship.

This can be challenging as it requires understanding the issues from the supplier’s perspective. When problems arise, remember it takes two to Tango, so compromise may be needed on both sides. Alpine has experience in providing this kind of independent mediation to ensure organisations get the best value for money because as we know terminating a contract can be costly.

We’d recommend that in addition to the traditional dimensions of cost and quality, your procurement criteria should also include an understanding of:
  • The suppliers client base: ask them how they will assign their high calibre resources to support the council
  • Quality control and recovery: how their senior management will support their team when problems arise (as they inevitably will), to ensure swift resolution
  • Payment-by- result: setting performance payments can be effective if you are looking to achieve outcomes rather than activity
  • Enabling innovation: going for the lowest cost can be a disincentive for innovation. Now more than ever councils are required to find new ways of working, so make sure you still have the scope for creativity and innovation
  • Access to data: Suppliers handle and generate an invaluable source of customer data when they deliver services on your behalf. They often do not share this with you – yet it fuels their competitive advantage. This data can tell you a lot about your citizens, their needs and the way they are accessing services. So have an open discussion about shared intellectual property and anonymised access to data.

Running a competition and selecting a supplier is the easy part. Most bidders have the capability to provide the service - but few high level resources and operational excellence to deliver and support all of their clients with parity.

So simply outsourcing a service in response to a delivery or financial headache is not a good starting point. You should keep your eyes on the prize – the long term goals.

Case examples

Alpine has provide short, intensive support to councils wanting to become intelligent client, in the following areas:
  • Designing your procurement brief and process and understand the underlying supply chain
  • Managing the transition to a new supplier
  • Acting as an objective observer or ‘critical friend’ in evaluation stage
  • Acting as an independent mediator to help find mutually acceptable business-to- business solutions when problems arise.

John Yard is an Alpine Associate with extensive experience of large scale procurement and commissioning processes, creating enabling commissioning cultures and capacity. He has helped organisations across local and central government from initial bid stage to conflict resolution over contract disputes.

Ruby, Dixon is Head of LG Practice at Alpine. As a former senior officer in LG she has client-side managed many outsourced contracts and services of significant value for the public purse. Contact her at: rdixon@alpine.eu.com or ring: 0203781345/ 07428018269
26/07/16
Recruiting and retaining top talent in local government has always been a challenge – but is arguably now more than ever in an increasingly commercialised public sector. So it’s no surprise that human resource professionals raised a lot of questions on this topic at the recent Making your Council a Commercial Reality joint event with Alpine and the Local Government Association a few weeks ago.

The message was clear that getting this right is not only about having the best talent in the present, it is also a key succession strategy for the future.

Whether councils want to be more business-focused for post-cuts consolidation, or generate commercial and social value in a devolved local government landscape, our advice is that from the beginning the personal involvement of the council’s chief executive and others, such as the corporate leadership team, is key. They must have ownership over why the talent is needed, what is expected of the individual(s), and how they can be productive in their vision of commercialism.

It may even be beneficial to enlist a trusted recruiter to get an outside perspective on how to achieve the changes you are trying to achieve, as sometimes colleagues within the organisation may

subconsciously have a limited view of what’s needed. But regardless of who you partner with, your personal involvement as senior leaders is vital for recruiting top tier candidates. Not least because the best individuals will recognise your personal commitment through such involvement and this will want to join you.

In order to recruit and retain the best talent, we have identified six key principles for defining the what is needed in today’s local government landscape. These are:

1. Agility – Local government needs managers and leaders who can think on their feet, adapt and change. The best leaders use a variety of approaches to solve new problems. You should be seeking flexible and creative people who can ensure a return. They need to be nimble, so learning skills and competency are often more crucial than technical expertise.

2. Entrepreneurialism – successful leaders ooze self-confidence and belief in their own initiative, creativity and emotional intelligence. These individuals should be able to share the load and take risks. The challenge is to find leaders who can create – and maintain - an entrepreneurial culture, regardless of the size of the organisation.

3. Problem-Solving –Giving your employees information and the legitimacy to act ensures your council can be focused on the perennial challenges of: safeguarding the most vulnerable, managing demand, and delivering efficient quality services on a shoestring.

4. Collaboration – the digital revolution has transformed the way we communicate, interact and work together. Online processes mean citizens want to access information and services wherever they are. Employees can also be empowered to collaborate with data and have greater scope for more flexible ways of working such as remote, part time and role sharing.

5. Effective communication –Your best talent will have exceptional verbal, written and presentation skills. Find people who can be clear and concise, and who can put themselves in everyone’s shoes – from citizen volunteers to portfolio directors. These people can communicate their thoughts effectively, and motivate others to follow you and them.

6. Citizen focused – In the current landscape it is imperative that councils focus of the changing needs of citizens, rather than simply be top down providers of services. Your best people will be able to co-produce, nudge behaviours, and demonstrate value for money – without any dips in customer satisfaction.

So when recruiting, it’s best to think as an investor (for return); for retention, think as an employee who wants an exciting employee value proposition.

Employee Value Proposition: Below is a useful model to remind us what the employee value proposition looks like. It is a US model (sorry about that!) - but nevertheless useful. If you were to score yourself out of 10, how would your council rate?

Susan Turnbull is HR Director; and Ruby Dixon Head of Local Government Practice. You can contact us both at Alpine at: rdixon@alpine.eu.com (02034 781345) and sturnbull@alpine.eu.com respectively.
25/07/16
Alpine Innovation: Digital Catapult events integration of health and social care

Earlier this year, alongside Atlantic Customer Services, Alpine organised two large events on the integration of health and adult social care for the national Digital Catapult.

These events addressed the huge strategic issues councils face in joining up services under the Social Care Act 2014 and integrating health and adult social care at t at time when demand is growing while resources are being cut. One response has been to consider outsourcing more services. But while this may result in some savings, it will also create a dependency on agency staff with variable skills and variable quality of service.

Instead, these Alpine events looked at how councils can retain ownership of services and provide better care through a data-driven approach. The events used an interactive methods to explore how public bodies could use digital tools to improve services, enhance decision making, and deliver customer-focused dignity in care. Both events brought together a unique practitioner group – including councils, clinical commissioning groups, existing providers, digital entrepreneurs, and customers, to make active progress and model solutions.

Participants defined the problems in detail from their perspective, and worked collaboratively to design solutions and new pathways for improved outcomes and better customer experience. Real (anonymous) data and prototypes emerged from these sessions, and the Digital Catapult and Innovate UK shared opportunities for funding to support this type of work. And thanks to the Digital Catapult, the events were completely free of charge.

The two events were:

The digital opportunities for personalisation of Social Care (March 2015)

Here participants focused on prevention through accessible data and visualisation. Some of the areas addressed included how digital can be used for self service, such as tele-care; how data can be used to speed up the assessment process; the creation of a more outcome-based commissioning model; and implementation of the care Act (including setting up care accounts and monitoring spend).

http://www.slideshare.net/CDECatapult/personalisation-of-social-care-pit-stop

Integrating Health Care and Social Care – the digital challenge (March-April 2015)

Evidence suggests that one of the greatest inhibitors to the integration of health and social care lies in the sharing and integration of data. Shared data has the potential to unlock insights into patients and recipients of care and improve their independence, longevity and quality of lives. Building on the customer journey and issues raised in the first session, this event looked at how information could be used to better inform decisions, commissioning and reducing the costs of delivery. Ensuring privacy, compassion and accountability were also key in the agenda.

http://www.slideshare.net/CDECatapult/integration-of-health-and-social-care-pitstop

Of course neither event was intended to provide all the answers to this complex issue. But by identifying a number of challenges and opportunities, practitioners understanding was raised of how a data-driven approach might work in practice, and the various benefits it can achieve.
25/07/16
No one knows who first said ‘the definition of insanity is doing something over and over again and expecting a different result’ – it was originally attributed to Einstein – but they may well have been referring to public sector.

Faced with yet more budget shrinkage, the government might appear to be undergoing huge change but in reality it is repeating familiar behaviour, while expecting new outcomes.

The Local Government Association has previously said the amount of money available to deliver some of the most popular local services will shrink by 66 per cent by the end of the decade. Over the last five years both local and central government have scrutinised their balance sheets to identify fat. Meeting more cuts with further salami slicing is generally accepted as unlikely to make public services better, cheaper and faster. But that approach is still underpinning strategy in many cases.

Further cuts mean local government now faces a stark choice of either radically re-designing services or cutting them altogether.

While slashing headcount or outsourcing may have temporarily reduced overheads, this hasn’t in itself led to transformed public services. And it may also fail to yield the promised savings – as documented in countless examples. Now more than ever the public sector needs vision.

Obviously technological change means it can feel hard to anticipate what might happen next. Ten years ago few people expected mobile working to fundamentally change the way we access services and information – a change that most organisations are still yet to adjust to. So it’s little wonder many folk seem to experience a sense of paralysis at the prospect of planning for the future.

However, public sector leaders need to be bold and ask themselves what kind of organisation they want to run in the next five years and how can digital can enable that change. Chances are, for many, their front and back end processes have failed to keep pace with the kinds of services people now expect. It’s fair to say the old ways aren’t working. Councils in particular now have the tools to make services better at low cost, through procurement vehicles such as regional hubs or G-Cloud.

The best way to create self-service and channel shift is by making services better and anticipating new ways citizens will want to interact with the government. If we get that right the knock on effect may result in not only cost savings but cost generation. Which fits with the transformation and commercialisation agenda, which is so key right now.

A short-sighted reactive approach to change by firefighting and temporarily squeezing margins is not visionary. It’s time to start with the question “What are we here to do and what tools are available to enable us to deliver?” and to be prepared to acknowledge that to be truly innovative one has to be prepared to start again.

Bridgette Cameron is the CEO of Alpine. Contact bcameron@alpine.eu.com
25/07/16
The borough of Redcar & Cleveland, in the Tees Valley region of the North East, is a relatively small council with big plans to improve services through digital.

The council’s goal is to implement a ‘digital by choice’ strategy – giving both internal and external users the opportunity to interact with the council from anywhere and at anytime.

Alpine recently met the council’s team and quickly realised the scale of its ambition.

However, it also became apparent that given its size and cost constraints, the council faced a number of major challenges in realising this goal.

Most pressing were the costs involved in producing and maintaining apps, low digital skills within the council, and issues around security and threat management and protection. Previously Redcar used a traditional technical development approach for building apps, which had proved lengthy and expensive.

Under this approach it took three months with a team of two to develop one app at a cost of around £25,000, which when multiplied across a range of apps, would amount to a significant investment. It became clear that even with a skilled team of specialists, achieving digital-by-choice would be cost prohibitive for them.

This is where Alpine came in. Working with our strategic digital partner Fliplet (http://fliplet.com/) we created a platform to develop bespoke apps at a fraction of the cost. This enables non-technical users, such as front-line staff, to create apps without having to learn to code. All they need to do to develop the app is use a ‘drag and drop’ tool through a PowerPoint style browser interface.

Anyone familiar with an Office interface and basic computer skills can create and publish functionally usable apps for internal or external users ready to use within hours – rather than months, and at a fraction of the costs. Using this approach, Alpine worked with the council to produce its first app for waste management services.

Now the council is using the platform to create apps across its services. These include case management services, auditing, HR and payroll, and food hygiene inspections – to name a few.

And the major advantage is that because they are so cheap and easy to develop, and the council is in control of its own creations, Redcar & Cleveland can experiment with different services. With the imperative to change services against a backdrop of limited resources, that is a compelling proposition for most authorities – saving them tens of thousands of pounds and allowing many more citizens who are digital-ready to self service.

Contact: Ruby Dixon at Alpine (rdixon@alpine.eu.com) or Gary Flynn at Redcar and Cleveland (gary.flynn@redcar-cleveland.gov.uk) for more information.
25/07/16
Anyone inside – or indeed outside – local government will have noticed that devolution is the hot topic of the moment. Increased localism will give councils more autonomy over strategic issues such as transport infrastructure, health and economic growth. In this new landscape strong science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) skills will be needed more than ever. It was therefore refreshing to participate in Socitm’s Women in IT network, which realises that women are under-represented in STEM subjects and this has a knock-on effect with information and digital technology. The Socitm Women in IT network reminded us of all the curious, risk-taking and tenacious women already in local government, and that the public sector has a proud record of workforce diversity. However, there’s no escaping the fact that women continue to be under-represented in the IT sector. Socitm’s own member research shows that women in public and private IT sectors account for one-third of the workforce at all levels. This is not a sustainable future model. Greater diversity means organisations have a larger pool of talent to draw from in order to rapidly respond to changing demands. So we cannot achieve more customer-focused services if the digital sector excludes women. Change won’t happen without a structured strategic effort to motivate and mobilise girls and young women to take STEM subjects. There are already some great programmes across access (Tech Mums), relevant engagement (Capgemini’s mykindacrowd, Apps for Good), networking (WeAreTheCity), people development (Canon’s Campaign for Learning) and digital skills and leadership (Learning Pool, Socitm). But we need more. We need to create the space and place for women to develop coding and data skills that are at the heart of the next wave of the digital revolution that is both innovative and ethical. Now more than ever we need a combination of technical and soft (e.g commissioning, negotiation, collaborative leadership) change management skills. Chi Onwurah, the shadow cabinet minister for Culture and the Digital Economy, has said it is time to ‘reclaim the byte’ and challenge the under- representation and stereotypes of women in technology. Under the efforts of Soctim’s president Nadira Hussein and its Women in IT programme, we are starting to do just that. Under the new public sector economy, the importance of this task cannot be underestimated. Ruby Dixon is a new member of Soctim’s Women in IT network and a candidate of the Academy of Digital Business Leaders. Contact her at: rdixon@alpine.eu.com
25/07/16
Held Nov. 2015 at Local Government House Conference Centre

Times are harsh for the public sector. Councils have had to make cuts and strip out waste. They have had to achieve efficiencies whilst managing increased expectations and demand. Now more than ever they have to find new ways to reduce the gaps in finance and to maintain high quality delivery. The more enterprising ones are now exploiting new commercial opportunities.

This new wave of commercially-minded councils puts them at the forefront of innovation, from which new delivery vehicles have emerged. This ranges from procurement and outsourcing to joint ventures with trusted providers, holding companies, local authority trading companies and other forms of businesses such as social enterprises, community interest companies (CICs) and employee owned mutual co-operatives.

Whichever path is chosen, there are implications for workforce development. Councils will need to recruit, retain and develop the right people representing the future of public services. They will need to ensure that the finances, governance and delivery are fair, compassionate, transparent and accountable.

LGA and Alpine working together
Our joint event with the Local Government Association, Making your council a commercial reality responded to workforce research and direct consultation with councils. Alpine is proud to have partnered with the LGA to help councils explore different commercialisation strategies and civic entrepreneurship as part of their leadership of place. Using commercialisation can enable councils to remain catalysts – not- reactors – for change for their citizens.

The event was specifically designed for Directors of Resources, Directors of Transformation, HR and OD leads, and senior council officers exploring commercialisation. Our programme focused on four key themes:

• preparing for setting up new delivery models
• managing the delivery of council services by others
• being more commercial internally (and helping staff to achieve this)
• understanding politics and governance of commercialisation to transform services.

Key speakers included Bridgette Cameron, Alpine’s CEO; Mike Lloyd the new CEX of the LGA, Councillor David Simmonds, Chair of the LGA’s Improvement & Innovation Programme Board; and Councillor Theo Blackwell Lead member for Resources at LB Camden. There were many other informative and interactive sessions where peers shared learning from real case studies and interactive workshops to help councils to empower their staff to make realise their commercial potential- internally and externally.

The event was hugely popular with over 35% attendance confirmed prior to market notification.

For more information about this event, contact Ruby Dixon, Head of Local Government, on 07428 018369/d 02034 781345 or at rdixon@alpine.eu.com
25/07/16
Pulling into the Innovation Pit Stops can put you in the driving seat with Health and Social Care

The Digital Catapult is dedicated to linking up the UK’s best digital ideas and enablers to public services and the market place. Alpine is working alongside the Catapult and its partner Atlantic Customer Solutions, to design and deliver innovation events in health and social care with a difference!

You won’t have failed to notice its a big issue nationally. Our ageing population is creating more demand on our health and care services. The Association of Directors of Adult Social Services (2014) estimates that councils will will spend £14bn on adult social care this year. This is an average 35% of a council’s spend and discretionary budget. Health and adult social care services face increased customer expectations with reduced funding. There are delivery, cultural and workforce challenges. But the Care Act, a shift towards virtual wards, and more integration of health and social care in the community can also bring opportunities for new ways of working.

The pit stops respond to the priorities that council CEXs, Adult Social Care and Place Directors, and their HR/OD specialists tell us this is a real strategic challenge that impacts on many parts of a council with adult social care statutory duties. These include: health and well being, protecting the most vulnerable citizens, reducing reliance on agency staff, up skilling staff for specialist needs (e.g. dementia), the marketisation of care, and expectations around big, open and personal digital data. Health and social care are emotive services, wrapped up in notions of trust, fairness and humanity towards older adults.

It is complex area. These innovation pit stops focus on new ways of working by exploiting digital and data to improve services. Using specific innovation techniques to unlock the challenges associated with digital and data, the events came up with solutions to transform health and adult social care with a clear value proposition for citizens.

The first pit stop on the digital opportunities for the Personalisation of Social Care – took place on 12-13 of March 2015. It looked at prevention through accessible data and its visualisation; how digital can help efficiency, access and self service (e.g. through tele-care); how data can speed up the assessment process (particularly for people currently funding their own care); and how assistive technology can support personalised care.

It was well attended (over 50+ participants) who were immersed in the issue. Using a PechaKucha format (7 minutes, restricted slides) they shared inspirational stories, and then went on to define and frame the problem in detail before working on solutions.

Over two days there was a high level of challenge and energy. Check out the photos here: https://www.facebook.com/DigitalCatapult/photos_stream

Local authorities found it challenging to step outside of the operations and legal accountabilities around the problem; whilst the tendency for digital entrepreneurs was to seek a solution before framing the problem in detail. But working in multi-expert groups, councils from far and wide designed solutions for their priority issues such as:
  • Tackling loneliness of carers through everyday digital devices such as smart TVs for tele-medics, Skype and connection carers feel they cannot leave the home
  • Leveraging community assets by mapping services, networks and partners, sharing info & open data, using the info for decision making, networks and pooled resources to increase efficacy and outcomes
  • Using digital for disruptive innovation to manage demand away from councils by supporting self funders to own personal Care Accounts, allowing self funders to become visible to the councils and the wealth of data on trends and needs (currently held solely by providers) to be shared with the council so it can plan services now and in the future.

At the end of the event, Innovate UK launched a new £2m innovation fund for innovation with digital personal data to facilitate the collaboration of digital entrepreneurs and front-line services.

There was excellent feedback -even from the most digitally experienced. Jamie Whyte (Head of Trafford Intelligence and Innovation Unit) said the event was ‘fantastic’ and Gary Oakford of Mersey Fire & Rescue confessed to taking away lots of ideas and contacts that can help him harness digital for preventative and innovation in his NW Merseyside-wide lead role in Implementing of the Care Act.

The event was free of charge. Throughout, the Digital Catapult kept everyone well nourished (lots of smoothies and fruit given the health focus). Importantly because the design team recognises that innovation isn’t restricted to one geographical place, accommodation expenses in London are reimbursable for council and CCG participants travelling from outside of London.

The next pit stop is Integrating Health Care and Social Care – the digital challenge, (30 March and 1st of April). It will focus on the enabling role of digital, and will take place at the Catapult lab in Euston, London.

All evidence shows that one of the greatest inhibitors to the integration of Health and Social Care lies in the sharing and integration of digital and data. How shared data can be used holds the potential to unlock insights into users (patients and recipients of care) that could dramatically impact on the independence, quality, longevity of and responsibility for their lives.

It is likely that we will work with some real (anonymous) data and progress towards developing live solutions (or at last prototypes) in the sessions. Knowledge support, networks and funding are made available to all participants after each pit stop. You can find more information at: http://www.digitalcatapultcentre.org.uk/event/integrating-health-care-and-social-care-pit-stop-the-digital-challenge/

As you might expect, the second pit stop is currently over-subscribed – but LG participants will welcome and prioritised. Anyone interested in pulling into these pit stops innovation and driving change in the future, can register on -line at http://bit.ly/1Md6Z0Bhttp://bit.ly/1Md6Z0B or by emailing terri.sheperdigian@atl-cs.com (simply citing this article).

Ruby Dixon is a public sector innovation specialist and is the Head of Local Government Practice at Alpine.

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