Podcast: Emphasising Humanity – Asset-based approaches: The first step to transformation

Glasgow Centre for Population Health recently published their latest research report Asset-based approaches in Service Settings. The report considers a number of examples of asset-based approaches in health and social care services across the Scotland, the benefits they bring and their future potential.

A recent Academy blog noted the links between the Academy’s Five Provocations for Health and Social Care and the new report.

In this latest podcast, Andrew Strong meets Jennifer McLean and Val McNeice to discuss their findings how they can be applied across different settings to stimulate transformational change.

Asset-based approaches – the first step to transformation

It might now be considered trite to say it, but people are the lifeblood of any service.  No matter the sector or subject, the system or the team – the driving force is the people who work in it and the people who use it.

This is why the publication of Glasgow Centre for Population Health (GCPH)’s new document ‘Assets based approaches in service settings’ is so welcome.  Taking an asset-based approach to services means focussing on the potential of people who use them – not what is “wrong” with them or what needs to be “fixed”.   By recognising and making the most of people’s strengths we can promote the factors that support good health and wellbeing.  This requires an understanding that addressing complex issues needs much more involvement of the people who are at the centre of those issues – rather than being viewed as things that can be “sorted out” by professionals alone.

A couple of weeks ago I attended the launch of the new report and one thing struck me – the significant overlap between the vision in GCPH’s document and that championed in the Health and Social Care Academy’s Five Provocations for the Future of Health and Social Care.  Leadership, humanity and cultural change are terms used throughout, which suggests that asset-based approaches are one key mechanism through which transformation can be delivered.

GCPH have made it clear that it is possible to design and focus delivery and practice towards assets, rather than deficits – even despite the many constraints placed on public services. Their new publication identifies examples such as Primary Care Learning Disability Local Area Co-ordinators, the Bridging employability service and Healthy Mind, a project designed to support access to online information and resources, as practical examples of asset-based approaches to the delivery of health and social care.

All progressive steps – but remain ‘far from the way we do things’.  The rhetoric around asset-based approaches has yet to reach reality in a manner which could be described as significant.  The Scottish Government has long been committed to the delivery of these approaches and, as GCPH note, this is informing and influencing the planning and delivery of some services.  But as always we need to move comprehensively and quickly beyond rhetoric and to the practical application and incentivising of approaches which encourage people to flourish.

After all, the need to work differently is ever more pressing.


Andrew Strong
Assistant Director (Policy and Communications)
Health and Social Care Alliance Scotland (the ALLIANCE)


Podcast: Target Culture – Measuring success?

Across the UK, the NHS, in particular, has often been accused of using “external stimuli such as targets” when attempting to make significant change.

Recently, the Health and Social Care Academy of the Health and Social Care Alliance Scotland (the ALLIANCE) and The Royal College of Nursing Scotland hosted a round table debate on changing our targets culture.

Following the event the ALLIANCE and RCN Scotland wrote to Shona Robison MSP, the Cabinet Secretary for Health, Wellbeing and Sport, about targets and a Scottish Government review to be led by Sir Harry Burns.

In the latest Academy podcast we hear from Hugh Henry, a former Scottish Executive Minister and MSP, on the challenges of a “target culture” and what we need to do to create a culture that enables change.

Podcast: Ceding power – Participatory Budgeting

What does ceding power mean in practice?

In the latest Academy podcast we hear from Alistair Stoddart, Scotland Network Manager at the Democratic Society, about how participatory budgeting (PB), a practical tool to support community decision making in resource allocation, is progressing across Scotland.

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Podcast: Courageous Leadership – “Walking The Journey With Others”

How can courageous leadership support health and social care integration?

In the latest Academy podcast we hear directly from Anne Houston, Director of Coaching for Life Limited, who is an experienced facilitator of leadership development programmes, to consider how leadership can encourage transformational change.  Anne offers us her thoughts on the conditions required to put these principles at the forefront and how leadership can be enabling of others within the new landscape.

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Creating health and wellbeing in the communities we care for – a student nurse’s perspective

When I saw the Health and Social Care Academy was hosting an event with First Minister Nicola Sturgeon on creating wellbeing in Scotland, I knew that I had to attend. As a student nurse in my final year writing my dissertation on health inequalities, the opportunity to watch politics in the moment on such pertinent health and social care issues was too good to resist.

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Care at home and in my community

The British Red Cross’s Operations Director for West Scotland, Marie Hayes, writes on how to support people to live independently at home and how volunteers have a big role to play.  This post originally appeared on the Scottish Government’s “Creating a Healthier Scotland” website, healthier.scot.

The people of Scotland are living longer these days which is something to celebrate. But as our population of older people grows, it presents us with a challenge. How do we provide sustainable care for those who need it? Read More “Care at home and in my community”

Making the most of the time we have

Richard Meade, Head of Policy and Public Affairs, Marie Curie writes on the Scottish Government’s national conversation and the way forward for end of life care.  This post originally appeared on the Scottish Government’s “Creating a Healthier Scotland” website, healthier.scot.

When someone becomes terminally ill or are coming to the end of their lives there are many things for them, their family and friends to think about. It can be a very difficult time with lots of tough choices to be made. For many, where a person spends their time and receives their care is an incredibly important part of those plans. Read More “Making the most of the time we have”

Podcast: Health and Social Care – An Australian Perspective

The latest Academy podcast features Ronda Held, Manager at COTA Australia, the peak advocacy body working on behalf of older Australians. Her role involves supporting people and providers of home care support across Australia to implement Consumer Directed Support (or self-directed support as it is known here).

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