As every good HSJ reader knows, good management is not about heroics or donning a Superman costume. Good management in mental health is about supporting local innovation and frontline service improvements.
And good management in a foundation trust is not necessarily about expansionism - it can also be about working in partnership with other agencies to improve the local system. So this column concentrates on a service development that probably won't score highly as a sexy photo opportunity for passing politicians.
Many people across the country benefit from "floating support" via the Supporting People programme but here in north London we have looked to link together floating support services so people can easily move between services.
Floating support in Camden is provided by six organisations that have expertise in helping people with mental health needs. The service is "floating", because it is provided to the user in their own home, rather than tied to a set location.
The six organisations work to the same service specification and liaise with each other to ensure co-ordination. The services help people to achieve personal recovery and to maintain their tenancy, home and independence.
The floating support services synthesise housing and tenancy assistance with a support, time and recovery approach to help people take control of their lives. Well trained and supervised support workers help people to set recovery goals and do things for themselves.
The top priority for a service user is often the need to maintain a home and tenancy. Service users are helped to manage their tenancy and maintain their home, while building daily living and social skills. Support is also given in improving the home environment, with benefits claims and finding work.
While no limit is set to the time in which a service is provided, reviews are designed to keep the work focused on personal development while steering clear of dependency.
Referrals can be made to any one of the six services. Referrers do not have to go to more than one service because when an organisation has a referral that it cannot allocate, the case is taken to a group where all six services are at the table. Self referrals are also accepted. The service has a two-week target for completing an assessment, making a decision on service allocation and, once allocated, providing support.
The floating support worker plays a full part in the multidisciplinary team.
The foundation trust component of the service specialises in intensive support, psychology, medication support and advice on complex issues such as dual diagnosis and alcohol and substance misuse.
When users have developed independence and can cope with less specialist support, they and their care co-ordinators can discuss "moving on".