Getting Going: Designing & Conducting a Stocktake


At this stage of the project, you will be analysing the ‘as is’ state of the current culture, processes, practices and people before implementing the new PCSP standard for mental health. In order to obtain a clear understanding of the gaps between where you are and where you are going, you must first ‘take stock’ of the current situation. In this section you will learn what a stocktake is, how to conduct them, who needs to be involved and how to encourage participation.

What are the key features of a good stocktake?

  • To provide a vehicle for telling people about your transformation objective and getting them on board with the idea
  • To understand the 'problem' you are trying to fix
  • To better appreciate how your sense of the situation differs from that of the other stakeholders
  • An opportunity to bring people from different stakeholder and professional groups together to collectively reflect on differing approaches, culture and language
  • Designed to reflect that the implementation of the PCSP standard is a people-based cultural endeavour as much as a technology project.

Read more on key features of a stocktake here and click here to readWhat to take into consideration’ before embarking on your stocktake.

Designing your own stocktake

In designing your own Stocktake it is helpful to consider what range of evidence you want to generate from the workshops or elsewhere. 

The conducting workshops matrix (opens in new tab) sets out what items, examples, and evidence to consider collating before and during a Stocktake. This resource is downloadable from the resources page.

For the Stocktake to effectively contribute to your PCSP standard implementation initiative the workshops need to be designed to elicit the appropriate information and intelligence for you to really understand where you are starting. You need to:

• Be prepared to hear what you don’t want to hear

• Have your assumptions about your readiness for the initiative to be challenged

By populating the matrix iteratively before and after the stocktake you will be able to ask the most helpful questions, actively invite contributions of items and examples from your participants and log your learning through the Outcomes of the workshops.

How to conduct a good stocktake

Traditional models of engagement and training have relatively limited impact on culture change or multi-disciplinary practice transformation. ‘Change Laboratories’ have been developed from a strand of Cultural Historical Activity Theory (CHAT) and have a good track record in supporting improvements in health and social care.

Click the link to read more about CHAT theory on the resources page.

Explore the key elements established by Change Laboratories for conducting a successful stocktake.

Conducting the stocktake workshops

The Stocktake is comprised of iterative cycles of workshops. There are two possible approaches to the cycles to suit different local circumstances and staff availability.

Regardless of which model of stocktake you adopt, it is recommended that learning sets, communities of practice or change laboratories be established across all areas expected to implement the PCSP standard so that the learning can be consolidated and the widest range of stakeholders can feel ownership and commitment to the shared ambition of improving care plans and planning through adoption of the PCSP standards. The Change Laboratory method has been well tried and tested specifically in health and social care settings. 

During our work on the PCSP Standard Implementation project we have observed a significant and detrimental gap between the strategic assumptions of transformation specialist/ strategists and the lived experience of point-of-care stakeholders. Bridging the gap is fundamentally important to successful implementation of the PCSP standard and the resulting improvements in care plans/care planning.

Click each button below to explore the two types of stocktake workshops;

  • Consider the features of a stocktake
  • Conduct workshops
  • Consider CHAT theory
  • Take considerations
  • Initiate discussion

How to initiate discussion in a stocktake workshop

To initiate discussions in the workshop, use ‘stimulus material’. You can use text-based clinical scenarios, audio, visuals, video, performance, or objects as stimulus. Each subsequent iteration uses a refined stimulus to reflect the previous discussion.

There will be a wealth of materials already existing that you could use as stimulus material for your conversations. Choosing the right stimulus material to reflect your own situation will help with the implementation of the PCSP standard. During the pilot with early implementers clinical scenarios were used and workshop discussion was collected cumulatively in real time using Padlet. An anonymised example of a CMH care planning project can be viewed here: [Have your say: CMH Care planning project]