Good Help in Rochdale: The Process Explained



Good Help in Rochdale is a two-year reform and integration project designed to help the borough respond to crises created by the Covid-19 pandemic, in particular, repurposing services to:

  • support people across the borough to flourish
  • reduce the costs of public services, especially failure demand costs
  • improve service outcomes for people

This blog describes the five-step process that has been underway since spring 2020 to achieve this:

  1. Exploration
  2. Co-design event
  3. Specific project support
  4. Evaluation
  5. Milestone tracking

Step 1: Exploration

The process began with an exploration of what Good Help means for Rochdale. This formed the basis of an early strategy, captured in the visualisations below.



Step 2: Co-design Event

An event was then held on 28 July with staff and citizens from across the borough to map the Good Help currently taking place and explore how to support more. The 76 attendees identified 26 challenges and opportunities for supporting Good Help in Rochdale, and prioritised them as follows:


The top two priorities that emerged were:

  1. Embedding Good Help in language and culture across the whole system
  2. Co-producing the approach, service design and delivery, with people who use services

These priorities formed the basis of a two-year plan, the key goal being to create systemic change from the bottom up by supporting a local Good Help movement. To achieve this we are undertaking specific activities which:

  • Influence the system
  • Enable people across the system and community to lead this themselves without the permission of the council or anyone else
  • Create a local movement
  • Support advocates to influence others
  • Demonstrate how a single place can be transformed
  • Generate stories (with evidence) of how people’s lives are transformed
  • Support people to optimise their part of the system for Good Help.


Step 3: Specific Project Support

The co-design event also brought to light the service areas where Good Help is already happening, or could be nurtured. These opportunities are captured in the visualisation below.

This led Rochdale to identify eight issue-based and place-based projects where there is both high potential/need for Good Help, and capacity to have an impact.

  • Ageing in Place (Kirkholt) – Collaboration to help single and potential shielding community of older people initially through first Covid-19 winter.
  • Pennines Early Help – Shared action to learn a model of all-age good help through whole family case work and a community (food) project.
  • MEAM (Making Every Adult Matter) – Co-producing a revised (assessment) process to deliver Good Help and system change from the point of view of people with multiple disadvantages.
  • Consequence Management Plus – Finding out how to embed Good Help into an enforcement driven part of our system.
  • NEST – embedding Good Help into the Supporting Parents assessment and pathway element of the specialist programme for families who have had multiple children removed.
  • Prevention, complex needs and voluntary sector infrastructure – reviewing prevention services including mapping the neighbourhood offer of physical spaces that are safe for people with multiple disadvantages to disclose and access Good Help.
  • VCFSE social movement
  • Youth employment hubs

Along with their own specific goals, each project  aims to:

  • Embed the good help approach and contribute to the shared body of local evidence around the impact of Good Help
  • Support the top priority from the Good Help event: to embed a common culture and language about how we help people across the whole system
  • Deliver the second priority from the event which is to do this through co-produced methods, involving people and sharing the learning

Alongside the project cells, System Leaders are meeting quarterly to drive, advocate and problem solve. They are responsible for supporting the ‘environment’ in which Good Help can thrive in the borough.


Step 4: Evaluation

With the specific projects identified, each will now be evaluated according to:

  • Fidelity: making sure that the service design matches proven Good Help practice
  • Quality: the quality of the implementation of the design (e.g. net promoter score)
  • Impact: what community members tell us about the difference the service is making to their lives.

This will inform the next steps to be taken, with each project falling under one of the below categories:

  • Showcase (already high quality)
  • Tweak (scope for improvement)
  • Big opportunity (potential for major improvement)
  • Unknown opportunity (need for major improvement, may be challenging)

For those projects that have been prioritised as needing some support, the next steps will be to meet to assess, quality and fidelity, and identify support required (e.g. action learning group, coaching, service design support).


Step 5: Milestone Tracking

The graph below describes how we hope to generate more Good Help projects across the borough over the two years of this project. By the end we aim to have a total of 30 projects, with new projects identified through system-wide cells.

More specifically, we will feel confident that we have created a lasting Good Help culture in Rochdale Borough by September 2022 if we have:

  • 400 different public service professionals who have attended one of our events who work in the borough
  • 100+ self-identified Good Help advocates; who are seeking to lead this across the borough themselves
  • Critical mass of cross-party support for the approach
  • Changed key aspects of the service systems
  • A clear, borough-wide plan that very many people and organisations ‘own’ and are proud to be part of.


If you are interested in learning more about Good Help in Rochdale, or supporting Good Help in your locality, please get in touch.

Jo Weir