Sally Gillies is a Registered Social Worker, with expertise in adult Care and Support. She is a qualified Practice Educator and a champion for personalisation, co-production and innovative practice.


Apples and Oranges: why we needed to take a different approach to adult Care and Support procedures

Well established and trusted by 80% of local authorities to deliver effective and professional procedures for children’s services, we recognised that our tried and tested approach needed to be adapted if it was going to meet the needs of adult Care and Support.

Apples and oranges may both be fruit but that is where the similarity ends. In reality they couldn’t be more different and the same goes for children’s and adult’s social care.

Considering the approach to take

Reflecting on traditional approaches to procedures was the key to understanding what opportunities existed for innovation and what needed to be done differently to move forward and re-develop adult procedures so they would be helpful and relevant to the real world of adult Care and Support.

We recognised that relying on legislative frameworks alone simply wouldn’t provide us with procedures that would reflect and support frontline practice. We wanted to develop procedures that were relevant and that equipped and supported practitioners to practice confidently throughout the whole range of situations they faced each day.

Key learning from the reflections:

  • Adult Care and Support legislation contains far less statutory duties when compared to the legislation used by children’s services. The Care Act has been deliberately written this way to allow practitioners to deliver a more personalised response that is proportionate to the needs and wishes of each adult. Procedures therefore cannot simply provide guidance based around statutory requirements alone. They need to be a source of support for case by case decision-making;
  • Adults are decision makers in their own lives and procedures for adult Care and Support need be written in a way that recognises the power should lie with the adult, not the practitioner. Procedures need to set the personalisation expectation and provide practitioners with the tools they need to practice in a person centred way;
  • The decision-making, practice and processes used in adult Care and Support have not yet been subject to the same robust legal challenges as children’s services. This lack of legal precedence means that there is still a lack of clarity in many practice areas. So, how do people know what best practice looks like? The procedures need to include a good practice evidence based resource, able to adapt over time to reflect case law developments as they emerge.

Key issues we considered in moving forward

We needed to:

  • Understand what practitioners in adult Care and Support really wanted and needed from procedures (rather than what we thought they needed);
  • Understand the range of adult Care and Support functions and services available, and the individual needs of each area (rather than assuming a generic approach);
  • Understand any variances in how legislation is applied and decisions are made;
  • Find out what is posing the greatest challenges to practitioners and what support would help practice in those areas; and
  • Know that the procedures we develop will make a difference to people with Care and Support needs.

Co-Production and Personalisation

As market leaders we are always keen to take innovative and fresh approaches to find the best solutions, so we looked to some of the principles that drive adult Care and Support and asked ‘why shouldn’t those same principles apply to our development?’ So, we thought about personalisation and we thought about co-production and we went from there.

Definitions of Co-Production

A meeting of minds coming together to find a shared solution (

Where groups of people get together to influence the way that services are designed, commissioned and delivered (

The tri.x approach

There are 5 simple stages to our development approach.


The result

Designed specifically to meet the needs of adult Care and Support practitioners, procedures that:

  • Are accessible, user friendly and well structured;
  • Are relevant and helpful to a range of direct practice situations;
  • Make sense of complex legislation and statutory requirements in a practical way;
  • Reflect the needs of practitioners across the full range of adult Care and Support services;
  • Provide practical support through a range of tools and guidance-tried and tested by practitioners and adults with Care and Support needs;
  • Promote a personalised approach to practice;
  • Make best use of available technology, including robust archiving, flexible content management and mobile access; and
  • Provide access to a range of trusted tri.x resources, including a comprehensive glossary and regular research/briefing papers.


Key learning

Taking a fresh look at adult Care and Support procedures and finding new and innovative ways to find the right solution has been a learning curve. We are proud to have taken a different, perhaps more radical approach that has:

  1. Focussed on working collaboratively with frontline practitioners and adults with Care and Support needs; and
  2. Never lost sight of the importance of personalisation.

As author of this piece, and project manager, my personal learning has been:

  1. That procedures can and should promote personalised practice;
  2. That co-production and partnership working adds real value to procedure development and gives people a voice;
  3. That being involved in the development of the procedures they will be using is empowering for practitioners; and
  4. That inclusiveness in procedure development promotes a shared understanding and reduces the risk of silo-working in practice.

How the tri.x approach can support you

If you would like to know more about the approach we have taken or to discuss how tri.x can work with you and your practitioners to develop effective and innovative procedures contact me on 024 7667 8053 or by email at


tri.x would like to thank its project partners for their support in the development of the adult Care and Support Procedures:

The Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead

Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council

Community Navigator Services CIC

Together we've got the public sector covered