Nottinghamshire County Council began an ambitious rollout of RIX Wiki Websites earlier this year. As Nottinghamshire is a Regional SEND (Special Education Needs and Disability) Pathfinder authority, implementing the new EHCP (Education, Health and Care Planning) required a toolkit and processes to re-tailor the new SEND pathway around the needs of children and families.
RIX Wikis fit perfectly into the online toolkit by enabling genuine Person Centred Planning to take place in a fresh and contemporary way.
Wiki Websites also provide an ideal platform to ignite and enhance collaboration between education, health, care professionals and the family. Because Wiki Websites are delivered through a secure online platform, the ability to scale up and roll out the software is technically straightforward, as the software is internet-based.
The real challenge is around getting people to change their ways of working and adopt new approaches to collaborative working across departments and cultures. Essentially we were asking families and young people to share their story, hopes, dreams and challenges on a simple, secure digital platform; for some families and professionals, this is a new way of working.
In this article I’ll focus on the techniques and tools we used to support the rollout of RIX Wikis and overcome some of the challenges. In Nottinghamshire this was led by our Centres of Excellence - these are local schools, charities and organisations that champion the use of RIX Wikis and Person Centred Planning in Nottinghamshire.
Because Nottinghamshire is a large shire county council, we identified Centres of Excellence across the local Nottinghamshire districts to deliver support with a local flavour and focus.
Here are my key tips for harnessing the support from local hubs or Centres of Excellence and empowering them to really drive forward the use of RIX Wikis.
- Connect in to NHS, Social Care and Education events to share the message about Person Centred Planning and Wikis. Connecting in to organised events and training days keeps your costs low and supports the integration of RIX Wikis into practice - Person Centred Planning shouldn’t be a bolted-on afterthought!
- Build confidence and expertise within the Centres of Excellence first by encouraging staff within a Centre of Excellence to access online training courses offered by RIX Media. Provide Centres of Excellence with a road map. We developed a Maturity Matrix for Centres of Excellence. This self-evaluation tool enabled them to chart their current activities and aspirations. It also provides Centres of Excellence with a framework of actions and challenges to achieve to move on to a new level of maturity as a Centre of Excellence. (Maturity Matrix for Centres of Excellence and Active Wiki Centres is available as part of the RIX Start-Up Pack.)
- Co-ordinated communication - we used a RIX Wiki as an information portal for the public to learn about our plans, find out how to access support and more importantly …. sign up for a Wiki online. (www.nottswikis.org). We gave editing access of this portal to our Centres of Excellence to encourage them to post and communicate news and achievements collectively.
- Connect up to the Local Offer - make sure the Centre of Excellence communicates the same information about their Wiki support services and activities through their own website and their page on the Local Authority website. As a Local Authority - consider promoting your rollout or programme through the Local Offer, along with details of how to get involved and what support can be offered.
- Provide resources - as a Wiki Co-ordinator, I provided quality marketing resources to the Centre of Excellence with opportunities to add their logos and branding, along with contact information. This allows Centres of Excellence to quickly promote their role and services and activities.
- Share your work and plans with other local authorities - children and families do move every so often! We have established good relationships with other local authorities that help to smooth the process of children moving house - and authority - and wanting to take their RIX Wiki with them.
Centres of Excellence or local hubs are critical to developing and sustaining Wiki use in any local authority. The innovation and local networks which Centres can offer are one of the most cost effective - and successful way of rolling out RIX Wikis in your local authority.
Craig Wilkie is the Nottinghamshire Wiki Websites coordinator.
You can hear more from Craig Wilkie at a webinar on the 30th October. Please register here and note that all registered participants will receive a recording of the session.
RIX Media is hosting an information day on - register now for our next information event in London on the 4th November.