Strengths and asset-based working starts by looking at what is strong not what is wrong. Either at an individual or community level this way of working looks at skills, strengths, and networks to:
- Enable people to have a more active role in their care.
- Ensure care and support is more personalised.
- Understand, build on and sustain the assets and networks that exist within communities.
- Think of creative solutions to improve health and wellbeing and use support outside of traditional or statutory services.
Making it Real statements
I have care and support that enables me to live as I want to, seeing me as a unique person with skills, strengths and personal goals."
We have conversations with people to discover what they want from life and the care, support and housing that will enable this, without restricting solutions to formal services and conventional treatments."
Tips for success
- Focus on getting support right for people and building better relationships with them. Any money saved or capacity freed up will be a by-product of that process.
- People being able to set their own goals and targets makes them more motivated and likely to meet those goals.
- Ensure staff can spend time in communities to build relationships and a better understanding of local assets and priorities.
- Help communities to publicise what is available locally and make this information more accessible. Timely, accurate and relevant information and advice makes it easier for people to find support themselves.
- Ensure that paperwork and operational processes don’t stop health, care, VCSE, housing staff or volunteers from working in a person-centred and strengths-based way.
- Capture and use self-reported outcomes such as wellbeing, independence and ability to self-care to help show the impact of strengths-based working.
- Build in regular time for staff to reflect and discuss openly and honestly what is working, what the challenges are and share their experiences and solutions.
- A summary of Asset Based Community Development including information on what it is and advice on how to implement it.
- A self-assessment tool from Think Local Act Personal, Shared Lives Plus and the Social Care Institute for Excellence to help develop ‘asset based areas’.
- Social Care Institute for Excellence guides and tools about strengths-based approaches and how to implement them.
- NHS personalised health and care framework which contains advice and information about taking a personalised approach in health and social care.
- Helen Sanderson Associates tools and templates to use in care planning to have strengths-based conversations.
- Skills for Care resources outlining how supervision and support, performance measures and business support need to change to fully enable personalised care.
- NHS England and Improvement personalised care page which includes information on the NHS commitment to implement personalised care and further resources and evidence.
- The Pod – a Coventry day centre for people with severe mental illness which became a community hub using social brokerage to support mental health recovery.
- Frome’s model of enhanced primary care where asset mapping and community development have been embedded in the primary care offer.
- Institute of Public Care case studies about Leeds, Coventry and Thurrock’s approach to strengths’ based working.
- Gloucester City Council during COVID-19 saw a strong community-led and collaborative response to the crisis based on relationships formed through their Asset Based Community Development work.