Sarah Robinson

‘What’s in a name? That which we call a rose, by any other name would smell as sweet.’
Romeo and Juliet (11, ii,1-2)

Shakespeare’s Juliet knew that Romeo’s surname did not take into account all the things she loved about him; he was more than his name. Yet, in order to make sense of our world, we continue to ascribe names and definitions to everything, perhaps forgetting that they can never truly encompass everything that something is.

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The Department for Work and Pensions has launched an independent review led by Dame Carol Black into the support available for benefit claimants with drug and alcohol problems. MEAM has responded to the call for evidence.

This review provides an opportunity to explore the range of challenges that people with substance issues face in moving towards employment, and explore how the current system could be improved to better respond to their needs.

While a great deal of the media coverage has focused on proposals to make benefits conditional on accepting an offer of treatment, this is one debate within a much wider set of issues and must not be addressed in isolation.

In responding to the review, the MEAM coalition charities – Clinks, Homeless Link and Mind – will seek to represent the experiences of people with multiple needs who have experience of substance misuse, and the practitioners who support them. In doing this, we will draw on the continuing work of our Voices from the Frontline project.

Read the full article here

BCFT_6 Over 120 guests attended the official launch of the Birmingham Changing Futures Together project Friday 19th June. They were able to find out more about the achievements so far, aspirations for the future and how they could get more involved.

Birmingham also took the opportunity to capture views on how people think Services, Outcomes and Systems (SOS) for people with multiple needs can be improved across the city. For details of the event and an inspiring video by their Experts by Experience, click here.

A new report, launched by Making Every Adult Matter (a coalition of Clinks, Homeless Link, and Mind) shows that people experiencing a combination of homelessness, substance misuse, offending, and mental health problems, are not getting the support they need because policymakers are not consistently listening to them or the practitioners that support them.

Solutions from the Frontline is based on the ideas and experiences of people with multiple needs. It sets out how the new Government, as well as national and local policymakers and commissioners, can act to reduce stigma, improve services, and support people to achieve their ambitions.

Read it here

solutions

mutliple needs summit 2015

Events like the National Multiple Needs Summit (22nd April 2015) are always a great opportunity for evaluators like me to have our beloved measures and outcomes illuminated by the personal touch of human experience. Over 300 delegates filed into the circular grand Assembly Hall of Church House in Westminster taking in the impressive glass dome and oak panelled walls. The building was used by the two houses of parliament during the second world war and has echoed to many an historic speech, including Churchill announcing the sinking of the Bismarck, no less.

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Important research on severe and multiple disadvantage (also labelled ‘multiple needs’, or ‘chronic exclusion’) is often confined to specific disciplines, or certain sectors. People with direct or ‘frontline’ experience rarely have a chance to shape this research, while inter-sector and interdisciplinary collaboration is rare.

Our hope is that this network will be a place where we can start to change this.

Our First Seminar

Our first seminar is Tuesday 30th June, 2.30-4.30pm, and we are pleased to host Professor Suzanne Fitzpatrick, Heriot-Watt University and Di McNeish, DMSS Research & Consultancy. Suzanne is lead author on ‘Hard Edges’, the recent report mapping severe and multiple disadvantage, and an expert in homelessness and housing exclusion. Di is a leading researcher into factors causing and characterising women and girls’ experience of multiple disadvantage. Both will speak on ‘Profiling’ severe and multiple disadvantage: the different ways it can be described. This will be followed by a discussion chaired by Dr Nick Maguire, Revolving Doors Trustee and Deputy Head of Psychology at the University of Southampton.

The seminar will be held in a central London venue.

Who can join?

Membership of the network is free, and open to all disciplines and sectors. We only ask that you have an active interest in researching multiple disadvantage and in helping to develop a collaborative, thriving network.

RSVP and Join the Network

As spaces are limited, please let us know if you would like to attend Tuesday 30th June. More details will be circulated to attendees. (Please note, we may need to limit attendance to one member per organisation).

Don’t worry if you can’t attend this meeting, we would still love you to become a member of the research network. Do get in touch if you want to find out more.

Kind regards

Lucy Terry | Research and Information Officer

Revolving Doors Agency

4th Floor, 291-299 Borough High Street, London SE1 1JG

Direct line 020 7940 9745

lucy.terry@revolving-doors.org.uk

www.revolving-doors.org.uk

lisa newman 2

I am the Communications Lead for the National Expert Citizens Group and the Independent Futures (IF) Group in Bristol – we are the advisory group of people with lived experience of multiple and complex needs. We are equal partners for the Fulfilling Lives project, a Big Lottery funded initiative to see how we can help individuals who keep falling through the gaps in the system. It is evident that many who come under this category – who have experienced at least three out of the four problem areas; mental health, substance misuse, homelessness and offending behavior, are still bouncing from service to service not getting their real issues dealt with properly. Having had hard earned street level experience of accessing these services means that our voice matters. Increasingly we are not only asked to contribute but actions are being taken as a result of what we say.

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Framework, the specialist charity and housing association, proposes five specific actions to bring effective help to people living troubled lives and those at risk of doing so. The aim is to secure cross-party agreement to win a better deal for people living troubled lives

These Five Actions are the key components for a national Troubled Lives Strategy:
• Support people using tried and tested solutions
•Amend the rules on access to health and social care
•Invest in specialist housing
•Make welfare work for people living troubled lives
•Join up policy where it impacts on troubled lives.

Follow the link to find out more http://fiveactions.org/

Making Every Adult Matter (MEAM) – have released their latest bulletin which includes the top three asks for government in the run up to the general election.

The bulletin also brings you the latest news about multiple needs including:

  • Multiple needs summit, 22 April **last chance to book**
  • Host a conversation on multiple needs policy
  • Three asks for the next government
  • MEAM Approach: The support we offer
  • Follow us on Twitter

Read the full bulletin here

Rachel Moreton

When we first began working on the Fulfilling Lives: Supporting people with multiple needs evaluation, a question we asked was ‘how many people are affected by multiple and complex needs?’ It seemed like a simple enough starting point. Two years on we’ve learnt very little is simple in trying to address issues that are inter-related and mutually reinforcing, particularly when the service response is too often inflexible and designed to address single issues only. The disconnected nature of support is reflected in the data which can provide an indication of levels of homelessness, offending etc, but not how these commonly related issues overlap. However, a recently published report from LankellyChase Foundation goes some way to addressing this and helping to answer that first, not so simple question.

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LankellyChase Foundation with Heriot-Watt University has released the most robust research to date on severe and multiple disadvantage In England. Hard Edges: Mapping Severe and Multiple Disadvantage in England draws together previously separate datasets from homelessness, offending and substance misuse treatment systems. It also takes into account available data around mental health and poverty.   It delivers the latest and most comprehensive statistics on people facing severe and multiple disadvantage: where they live, what their lives are like, how effectively they are supported by services, and the economic implications of the disadvantages they face.

Read the full report here:

Hard Edges: Mapping Severe and Multiple Disadvantage in England

The Autumn Statement promises better support for people with multiple and complex needs. Responding to the recommendations of the Service Transformation Challenge Panel, the government will look to develop and extend the principles of the Troubled Families programme to other groups of people with complex needs from the next Spending Review. To move in this direction, the government will: Continue reading

The Big Advice Survey is a national survey conducted at a local level. It is created and promoted by individual Citizen Advice Bureaux and Law Centres as well as a diverse range of other organisations including solicitor firms, community groups, local businesses, foodbanks, housing associations, colleges and educational institutions. Continue reading

Associate Director, CFE Research

What’s the collective name for a group of evaluators? A measure of evaluators perhaps? Or how about a puzzling of evaluators? A squabbling of evaluators? Hopefully not the latter.I recently met with fellow evaluators working on strategic investments funded by the Big Lottery Fund. The investments vary from the very young (A Better Start) to old (Ageing Better), from specific needs (NEET young people) to multiple needs (homelessness, substance misuse, offending and mental health). However, there is much common ground in relation to evaluation, with those involved seeking to measure the true impact of those investments and find out ‘what works’, for whom and in what circumstances. Continue reading

justin nield

This guest blog is from Service User Engagement Co-ordinator Justin Nield. Justin has been working on the Fulfilling Lives: supporting people with Multiple Needs Blackpool Programme funded by the Big Lottery.

I haven’t always been a Programme Co-ordinator and I lived with Multiple and Complex needs for most of my adult life. I spent over 20 years in active addiction, suffered with enduring mental health issues and ended up living on the streets, frightened, confused and vulnerable. Continue reading

Rachel Moreton

I recently spent an informative and enjoyable afternoon at the CLINKS event “Justice Data Lab – one year on”.

The Justice Data Lab is an exciting step forward in making use of  government data to better understand what works in reducing reoffending. It is part of a wider, ambitious project led by NPC to open up government data to the not-for-profit sector to help them understand the impact of their work.

A key, but challenging, element of the Fulfilling Lives: Supporting people with multiple needs evaluation is using administrative data, on offending, benefits, use of health services and so on to estimate the cost of supporting people with multiple needs, and evidence the impact of the programme. So we will be keeping a keen eye on how this work develops over the coming months and years and considering ways the evaluation might benefit from it. Continue reading