Freeman Blog

Cost Savings In The Cow Shed?

Posted by Mark Freeman
Mark Freeman
Mark Freeman & Associates was established by Mark Freeman to bring together a number of trusted associates who...
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on Monday, 19 November 2012 in Freeman Blog

In these days when budgets are being squeezed ever tighter and costs are under constant scrutiny many charities must be wondering where on earth they can look next for solutions to these pressures.

I’d say – look in the shed where your Sacred Cows are housed, bring them out into the light and give them a prod.  And here’s why.

Who’d have thought that an organisation which supports disabled people could both cut costs and improve people’s quality of life - at the same time?  Not me!  And I’m the parent of someone with profound and complex disabilities, needing 24 hour support.

A report from the Centre for Welfare Reform gives a most heartening example of Choice Support and Southwark Council working together to look at a hitherto no-go area.  People with complex problems such as learning disabilities, epilepsy, incontinence, or challenging behaviours must have staff on duty and paid to be awake all through the night … really?  Must they?

The answer is actually no – they don’t necessarily need to.  By investing in new assistive technologies, people don’t need to be disturbed by waking night staff. 

An amazing range of monitors and alarms, unheard of when my daughter lived at home, is now available and can immediately alert sleep-in staff if a person needs support.   Pressure relieving mattresses can be employed to avoid constant disturbance for turning.  Support can be given in less intrusive, more cost effective ways, and improved sleep – for everyone – undoubtedly increases health and well-being.

Obviously a huge amount of work on this project was undertaken around consultation, risk assessment and the maintenance of a high standard of quality, care and safety, and the report details just how robust the process was.

But, the results show that safety was maintained, quality of life was improved and cost savings were made.

Now, this may not be the area that your charity works in, but the encouraging principle to draw from this project is the challenge it makes to the old thinking about risk and entrenched views.  If this thinking was more widely adopted, wouldn’t we as tax payers, not to mention parents and carers of disabled people, applaud the effort to get a grip on social care budgets?

I would!  I am applauding it!

Come on charities – at your next staff awayday have another look at some of your Sacred Cows and “no-go” areas!

Article By Lynda Frampton


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Mark Freeman & Associates was established by Mark Freeman to bring together a number of trusted associates who could offer charities sound professional and practical advice for trustees and senior management.

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