Autumn has been a busy time for the newly formed ourNCTservices team, as we get underway with our review of NCT’s portfolio of services. This is a project close to my heart, as it aims to drive the very changes which brought me to NCT in the first place. I feel so lucky to have a job which offers such opportunity to improve experiences and outcomes for new parents and their babies. Being part of such a critical project for strengthening and increasing the reach of our support is really exciting.
At NCT, we’re no stranger to a big vision and real ambition in what we aim to achieve – that all parents should be supported to have the best possible experience of pregnancy, birth and early parenthood. And what a difference this would make for the emotional and physical wellbeing of babies and families too.
But a big vision and real ambition is no more than a pipe dream, without the right people, plans and a good dose of passion behind them. We know we have the people and passion – in droves! – and we’ve been focusing hard on the plans.
ourNCTservices aims to explore what our services for parents should look like in the future and identify how we’re going to get there. What should we continue doing, adapt or stop doing? And what new things should we consider doing?
We are focusing first on strengthening our core services, across antenatal, infant feeding and postnatal. Alongside this we need to lay the foundations to increase our reach to support more parents from less affluent communities and at greater risk of isolation, and to expand our support postnatally.
Why is it so important that we review our services?
We know that the way in which parents access information and forge new networks has changed hugely in the past ten years. And that the world in which we deliver services continues to change rapidly – in terms of parents’ expectations, the context in which they are having babies and the other support on offer.
We also know that many more people could benefit from NCT than do so at present, and that we can do more to support parents postnatally.
So we are taking an honest, complete and creative look at what we deliver, how and to whom. This is to ensure that in ten years’ time NCT’s services are readily accessible and relevant to new and expectant parents. And that these services help them have the best possible experience of pregnancy, birth and early parenthood.
Where will we start?
We will start with parents – our beneficiaries – firmly grounded in their experiences and behaviours, and their wants and needs. If we are to achieve the greatest possible impact for parents, then we need to be truly parent-centred in the way we develop and deliver our services.
We will be mining the brilliant data we already have from our extensive evaluation of our services, including the wealth of qualitative feedback. We will be looking at wider research to understand trends, challenges and opportunities. We will also be working with the brilliant Good Innovation to conduct new research with parents, using creative techniques to understand experiences, behaviours and attitudes.
At the same time, we’ll be mapping our existing service portfolio. Taking an aerial view of the range of services we deliver. This will include reviewing the service and funding models, the benefits and value to parents, and what their potential for expansion or adaptation might be. We’ll also be considering their fit with each other and with NCT’s mission, and our capability and capacity to deliver at scale.
Working with you
We can of course only get this right by working with the practitioners, tutors, volunteers and staff who support families every day. A huge amount of knowledge, expertise and experience exists across our amazing network. We want to hear your views and test emerging findings with you.
There’ll be lots of ways to get involved as the project progresses. The project team – myself, Caroline Star and Annie Raff – will be spending lots of our time on listening and learning. As a first step, we’d love to hear how you’d like to get involved and you can also contribute to our evidence gathering stage. Perhaps you have a particular way of working locally that you think we could learn from? Or have data or ideas to share with us?
This is a really exciting project looking at the future of the charity we love so much and how we achieve the greatest impact for parents. Get involved by signing up here!