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In 2017 we supported organisations and Health and Social Care Partnerships (HSCP) across Scotland to develop and test models of neighbourhood care.

We offered Cornerstone support through action learning sets (ALS). We chose ALS because there is evidence that individuals who work to resolve challenges and barriers which may be negative influences on their work, improve their emotional wellbeing and it leads to change.

What are action learning sets? 

ALS is an approach to collaborative learning and action offered by the SSSC to help integrated working.

This programme of activity is to support learning and improvement. ALS provide the space to test out new ways of working, explore new ways of thinking, a chance to progress new opportunities and develop new ideas.

ALS were an ideal way of supporting Cornerstone staff to develop new skills while working with the development of self-organising teams. It addresses participants’ live issues, provides reflection, analysis and action through this change.

Our programme involved people from across the organisation including the senior management team.

ALS participants said the SSSC support to Cornerstone has enabled them to role model and develop the skills needed to work effectively in self-organising teams including self-leadership, active listening skills, curious questioning, suspending judgement and working collaboratively.

Their knowledge, skills and attitudes have improved: 

  • understanding of the wider organisation and shared challenges faced by different professionals
  • problem solving skills and skills in collaborative working
  • confidence and a sense of agency where ‘no problem is intractable’
  • awareness of their own skills and how they can be applied.

Sharon Francis, Self-Directed Support Lead, Cornerstone tells us what working with action learning sets has led to.

As part of ALS we considered an ongoing issue in work that we could take with us and present and be supported to look at ways we could overcome it in a positive manner.

'Through this process I was empowered by the coaching style and method of ‘How can I/we’ and how we felt supported to not only be empowered by our own self-reflection but our group’s reflection on varying issues/situations and how to deal with them or turn them round to ensure a positive outcome. This method of working allowed us to revise and enhance the way we deliver our service.

'Welcome The Lens.

'The Lens is an intrapreneurship programme which develops staff and ideas. It’s a way of improving people’s lives, enabling and encouraging staff to develop new ideas and create new ways of thinking and working. It gives organisations an opportunity to learn. The work compliments the ALS by developing staff skills, knowledge and confidence.

'They work with organisations to create new ways of thinking and working over a few months allow the intrapreneurs to pitch for investment.

'Our idea is to have an information hub for self-directed support including a coffee shop which will also offer employment opportunities for supported people in the centre of Aberdeen.

'This is a huge project which in time will also provide activities and a shop. So, we’re on a stepping stone scenario. We need to take small steps to reach our vision.

'Our goal is to ensure supported people have quality of life, retain independence, social inclusion and good clear information and signposting.

'Attending the ALS sessions boosted my confidence, I felt empowered to bring this idea to life. ALS has become part of the norm for me where when reflecting I ask – How can I/we.

'Three simple words that offer amazing support and allow you to consider new pathways and probable issues in a different light.

'FAB – Everyone should attend – I loved it.'

Gemma Taylor, Cornerstone Service Manager said:

'I was pleasantly surprised with the camaraderie and support networks I had built up with colleagues across other areas that I would usually rarely see. Over the coming months ‘How can I?’ became ingrained in my working life, it helped me to see the positives in situations and challenges rather than the negatives. With this in mind, when I heard that Cornerstone and The Lens were teaming up again to encourage intrapreneurs in the organisation to apply for funding for bright ideas – I knew I wanted to be involved. Not only did I have an idea, but I was also aware that finalists were coached through various workshops by The Lens to help them prepare. A coaching approach is one I really benefited from during action learning sets, I really thrived on the thought provoking and creative process of helping me to get more out of questions and events. I was delighted to hear I am shortlisted as a finalist!

'Cornerstone’s new ways of working have allowed for innovation at all levels to be at the forefront of the organisation, this along with the knowledge and skills I learned from the action learning set have given me the confidence to believe in my idea and apply. I am pitching for funding to help bring to life an app that will allow us to report progress of goals quickly, effectively and safely to our commissioners as well as keep families and friends up to date. The Lens final is on 24 April 2019 and although still nervous the positive experience I had with action learning sets has helped give me the push to prepare and (fingers crossed) perform on the day!'

You can find out more about The Lens by visiting: