Independent Living Solutions

A Message from Lord Pickles and Lord Blunkett, followed by Independent Living Solutions's best practice article

The ability to listen and learn from one another has always been vital in parliament, in business and in most aspects of daily life. But at this particular moment in time, as national and global events continue to reiterate, it is uncommonly crucial that we forge new channels of communication and reinforce existing ones. The following article from Independent Living Solutions is an attempt to do just that. We would welcome your thoughts on this or any other Parliamentary Review article.

Blunkett signature Rt Hon The Lord David Blunkett
Pickles signature Rt Hon The Lord Eric Pickles

Joint CEOs Kate Maclean and
Karenmarie Smith
The ILS team
Independent Living Solutions, also known as ILS, are specialists
in clinical case management and rehabilitation within the
medicolegal sector. They support adults and children who
have sustained life-changing injuries or complex needs –
from brain and spinal cord injuries to cerebral palsy, severe
orthopaedic problems and mental health issues. Joint CEOs
Karenmarie Smith and Kate Maclean tell
The Parliamentary
more about ILS’ work and how their organisation
requires a person-centred attitude.
Our entire business is about people, and our clients are at the centre of everything
we do. With national coverage, we are well positioned to provide a comprehensive
service that maximises independence. For many clients, our support is lifelong and
an integral part of their daily lives; some have been with us for over 20 years.
Case management is a collaborative process which assesses, plans, implements,
co-ordinates, monitors and evaluates the options and services required to meet an
individual’s health, social care, educational and employment needs.
Recent growth has enabled us to offer a standalone rehabilitation service with specialist
teams dedicated to nursing, moving and handling, posture management, neurological
occupational therapy, vocational rehabilitation, physiotherapy, occupational therapy
for children, speech and language therapy and visionimpairment.
This means that our support covers every aspect of physical, intellectual and
emotional wellbeing needed for a rewarding quality of life.
»Joint CEOs: Kate Maclean and
Karenmarie Smith
»Founded in 1992
»Head office in Wilton,
Wiltshire, with services
»Services: Case management
and rehabilitation
»No. of staff: 134
»No. of clients: 240
»No. of support workers: 385
Independent Living
Highlighting best practice
How we began
When founded by pioneering
occupational therapist Elaine Gipson,
case management was in its infancy
in the UK. In 1992, she put together a
national network of highly experienced
case managers from a wide range of
clinical backgrounds.
Over the following 15 years, we took
on increasingly prominent roles within
ILS to establish and lead a fast-growing
business. When Elaine retired in 2008,
we became joint chief executives.
Our people and our values
We value our people and the skills,
expertise, experience and quality they
bring to the business. This is reflected
in our flexible working policy, an
allocated personal training budget for
everyone, a competitive salary and
benefits package and our dedicated HR
and support services team. Our clinical
teams also enjoy the support of an
established mentoring programme. All
of these factors contribute towards a
stable, happy and cohesive workforce.
In terms of quality, all of our case
managers and therapists are highly
experienced adult or paediatric
specialists registered with their own
professional bodies as well as the
Case Management Society UK and
the British Association of Brain Injury
Case Managers. We encourage
every team member at ILS to work
towards achieving advanced registered
practitioner status.
We regularly hold two-day residential
company conferences bringing
together remote and office-based staff
to spend time with colleagues and
participate in workshops, share ideas
and celebrate achievements together.
Our managers meet weekly to discuss
business development, explore
opportunities and plan projects. As a
result of these meetings, we now utilise
a secure cloud-based system called
SharePoint for effective maintenance
and management of confidential client
information among clinical teams.
After carrying out a further staff
survey, we implemented an open
and honest feedback system –
with promised anonymity – and in
December 2018, staff took part in a
project to formally name and define
our values. This meant we could
publicly describe our company ethos
clearly in a way which everybody
would recognise and understand.
These qualities form our moral
compass and inform how we run the
business day to day:
»We are client-centred. We put our
client’s aspirations at the centre of
everything we do.
»We have integrity. We can be trusted
to work in a professional, honest and
transparent way.
»We are positive. We find solutions
and empower others.
»We are supportive. It matters to us
that our clients and staff know that
we care.
»We are quality-focused. We set high
standards and aim to exceed them.
One of our clients,
Lauren, surrounded by
our values
Our entire
business is
about people,
and our clients
are at the
centre of
everything we
Balancing and managing
It has always been challenging to
balance demand for our services and
the needs of clients with our ability to
grow within financial limitations. It is,
however, still sometimes difficult to
recruit case managers with the right
skills in the right areas at the right time.
Legislative introductions such as
pension auto-enrolment have had a
big impact on the workload and costs
associated with additional recruitment
and purchasing software. Our clients’
carers also all work different hours and
subsequently earn varying amounts;
auto-enrolment parameters are not
geared towards this complexity.
Similarly, GDPR and threats to
cybersecurity have also required the
investment of time and money to
ensure compliance and data integrity.
We maintain the highest professional
standards in all aspects of our work,
allowing us to meet CQC standards.
With a unique working model, this is
not without its challenges, but we are
committed to excellence for our clients.
Many other independently owned
British case management firms have
been bought out in recent years. To
compete with these larger companies,
we are committed to retaining and
growing our specialist clinical expertise,
taking a creative and innovative
approach to marketing, maintaining
the excellence of our staff and striving
for continual improvement in all our
business practices.
Some of the difficulties we experience
are on a practical and regional level,
and there is currently a lack of suitable
commercial property available to
accommodate our growth. For several
years now, our office-based staff
have been split across two separate
buildings, and we look forward to the
day when we can all work together in
the same premises.
Development in the
case management and
rehabilitation sector
There will always be a need for
high-quality case management and
rehabilitation services, and we intend
to continue to thrive as a market leader
in the future. As well as investing in
staffing and expertise, we have also
developed a five-year strategic business
development plan.
We are proud of what we do and can
demonstrate our excellence in several
ways, but we have decided to focus
on compiling testimonies from those
we have existing relationships with,
preferring to encourage them to say
in their own words why they value
Most importantly, our clients’ resilience
and determination are frequently
impressive, so we are currently inviting
them to participate in an exciting film
and animation project showcasing
their achievements.
The fact that we have helped to enable
and empower so many people is a
compelling testimony for those who
are considering doing business with
us, and we believe, when it comes to
getting that message across, it is right
to give our clients centre stage.
ILS seem to have
all of my
family’s needs
covered – I can
concentrate on
being there for
my relative
A family member of one
of our clients
One of our clients, Ellis,
with Case Manager

This article was sponsored by Independent Living Solutions. The Parliamentary Review is wholly funded by the representatives who write for it. The publication in which this article originally appeared contained the following foreword from Rt Hon Michael Gove.

Rt Hon Michael Gove's Foreword For The Parliamentary Review

By Rt Hon Michael Gove

This year's Parliamentary Review comes at a momentous time for parliament, as we collectively determine the destiny of the United Kingdom. 

On October 31, the UK will leave the European Union. The successful implementation of this process is this government's number-one priority.

Three years after a historic referendum vote, we will deliver on the decisive mandate from the British people. Trust in our democracy depends on it. Until that final hour, we will work determinedly and diligently to negotiate a deal, one that abolishes the backstop and upholds the warm and close relationship we share with our friends, allies and neighbours in the EU. But in the event that the EU refuses to meet us at the table, we must be prepared to leave without a deal.

As the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, it is my job to lead on this government's approach, should that scenario happen. Preparing for Brexit is my department's driving mission. But while I am leading this turbocharged effort, the whole of government is committed to this endeavour.

Ministers across Whitehall are working together to ensure that every possibility is considered, every plan is scrutinised and every provision is made. A daily drumbeat of meetings means that we are holding departments accountable, so that preparations are completed on time.

The chancellor has confirmed that all necessary funding will be made available. And we have mobilised thecivil service, assigning 15,000 of our most talented civil servants to manage our exit from the EU.

We will make sure that on November 1, there is as little disruption to national life as possible. Our trade relationships will continue to thrive, thanks to agreements with countries around the world worth £70 billion. Our country will remain secure, thanks to nearly 1,000 new officers posted at our borders. And the 3.2 million EU nationals now living and working among us can remain confident, with absolute certainty, of their right to remain in the UK.

Above all, our goal is to be transparent. Soon, we will launch a public information campaign so that citizens, communities and businesses are ready and reassured about what will happen in the event of “no deal”.

In my first few weeks in this role, I have travelled to ports and tarmacs, borders and bridges, all across the UK –from the seaside of Dover to the rolling green hills of County Armagh. I have heard from business owners and border officials, farmers and hauliers. They are ready to put an end to uncertainty. And they are ready to embrace the opportunities ahead.

Our departure from the EU will be a once in a lifetime chance to chart a new course for the United Kingdom. Preparing for that new course will be a herculean effort. But this country has made astounding efforts before. We can do it again.
Rt Hon Michael Gove
Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster