Thursday, 9 June 2011

Working with Wokingham

Our latest recruit, Jim Demeza, is certainly hitting the ground running. Hot on the heals of his work with Actis for their AIM 2011 conference, his first project win was launched this week. Working closely with the design team here, he steered us to victory on the the tender to create a new identity for Wokingham Council’s new independent local authority trading company, Optalis. As a local authority trading company (LATC), and only the second independent LATC to be formed in the UK, Optalis will be able to operate competitively in the adult social care market, providing it’s customers with more choice and greater control in their support services and spend. It will also allow those who are not eligible to receive help from the Council, to buy services privately. The final design was created with the assistance of the Sensory Needs team to reflect a bright, friendly and modern organisation. The design can be viewed on our 05/11 news page here.

Designer Mark Stevens, who worked on the branding said:
"Transferring existing adult social care services into an LATC offers those in need of care, a greater choice over their support arrangements, allowing their needs to be met in a more individualised way. Working closely with the Optalis team, we used colour to communicate the importance of these 'new choices for living' and backed it up with a succinct tagline, to create a warm, approachable marque for an auspicious new scheme."
Design Week took an interest in what we had done too, so if you are a subscriber you can view the article here.

We are currently in the process of working on the brand guidelines, and a range of templates, to help them save money on both their internal and external marketing, whilst also ensuring they retain brand consistency across all collateral.

Here's the official Optalis Press Release:


Vulnerable adults with a disability, and older people who need care and support, will have more choice from today (June 6) as Wokingham Borough Council launches Optalis; its new adult social care company.

Optalis, which is wholly council-owned, has today taken control of all the borough council’s adult social care provided services. This includes day centres, employment services, home care, residential care and supported housing services, as well as brokerage and support and sensory needs services.

The council was prompted to set up a separate company by a combination of its policy decision to become an increasingly commissioning authority and the national policy of Putting People First, which allows adults who are entitled to personal budgets to choose who provides their social care, rather than being told by social services. This has meant people have more choice and control about how they spend their budget. Whilst this is extremely positive for the borough’s residents it has meant that the councils’ long-established care services couldn’t be guaranteed to be able to survive.

Moving to a separate company allows those services to better manage their costs and to better respond to personalised care needs, ensuring they will continue to be attractive to personal budget holders. It will reduce operating costs and overheads, and grant new flexibilities and freedoms that are not possible as part of a council set up. As Optalis is now operating competitively in the social care market, it will be available to those who previously may have wanted to buy Council’s services, but were not able to because of legal restrictions on the council selling its services. The launch of Optalis will therefore offer more choice than in the current market. This way our existing and future clients will get the best of both worlds – having the choice of a proven high quality service and also one that has freedom from public sector requirements.

Stuart Rowbotham, strategic director commissioning, said: “Doing nothing and remaining as we were was simply not an option. In order for our services to flourish and to continue to provide our excellent services to the public, we needed to be able to trade and contend with both established and emerging market competitors. Transferring our in-house adult social care services into a new company is our best option for doing this. We have invested £250,000 to set up this exciting new company which the council will recoup over time.
“We expect Optalis will be able to grow and develop new and improved services, including those that are currently missing from the social care market and are in demand. This will, in turn, offer more support options and activities that until now vulnerable adults haven’t been able to access.”
Cllr Julian McGhee-Sumner, executive member for health and wellbeing, said: “Our key priority is to sustain and improve the services we already provide and to give continuity and high quality support to the people who already use our services as well as those who may do so in future. Transferring our services gives us the best chance of achieving this.“

Mike Walsh, managing director at Optalis, said: “We have been working hard to ensure the transition period is smooth and those customers already receiving a social care service should not notice much difference day-to-day other than the change of organisation name and image. Most importantly, people should continue receiving support from staff that they know and are happy with because the council staff delivering the service have been transferred to Optalis. Those vulnerable adults who receive a service from us will experience greater choice and control over their support arrangements; and the risk of disruptions to their service or a loss of service altogether will be far lower. It’s an exciting time to launch Optalis.

No comments:

Post a Comment