Campaigns and Policy Officer Andy blogs about a project we're part of making sure the voices of people with multiple needs are heard.
Working in policy, sometimes you begin to think you can come up with all the answers and that by looking at statistics or reading fancy reports you can decide what will work. By going out and talking to people who use and deliver services, I’ve learnt that this definitely isn’t the case.
Back in January I wrote a blog about a project we’re working on called Voices from the Frontline. The project aims to make sure the voices of people with multiple needs, and those who support them are at the heart of the policy debate.
In case at this point you are wondering what we mean by “multiple needs”, it means people who not only experience mental health problems, but also face homelessness, drug addiction or have been in contact with the criminal justice system.
So far in the project we have been up and down the country talking to services and the people who use them to find out what support currently looks like.
You can read about this in our reports here and here, but to summarise we found that:
- There is a lack of understanding about multiple needs among decision makers, frontline service and the general public, which results in people facing stigma
- People with multiple needs don’t have a say in what services look like
- The support people receive is inconsistent, difficult to access and doesn’t focus on what the person needs to help them
- Many people with multiple needs find it difficult to access benefits, employment support and suitable accommodation
But while it’s all well and good coming up with problems, if you want to make change, you have to have answers to these problems. That’s why we went back out, up to Newcastle, down to Brighton and everywhere in between, and asked people on the frontline how to improve the support received by people with multiple needs.
Today, we are publishing these solutions in our new report, aptly called Solutions from the Frontline. If you get a chance please take a chance to have a look at the report, and if you’re short for time, flick through to page four to read our recommendations.
As well as providing solutions and recommendations to Government, local authorities, commissioners and services, the report makes the case for acting on this important issue. We will be taking these solutions to all those involved in how people with multiple needs are supported and pushing for change.
Why are we so keen for the voices from those on the frontline to be heard? Because we think that they are the experts in what works for them, and know best what they need to help them reach where they want to go.
Policy and Campaigns Officer
Read the new report 'Evidence from the Frontline' on the Make Every Adult Matter (MEAM) website here.