LT resource update

During 2020 we launched a new online system, and all training resources were moved over to that new site in November 2020. The ‘training library’ that some Licensed Trainers may remember has now gone and everything can be found in one place on the Star Online.

All Licensed Trainers should have been sent a new log-in and password to enable them to access the site even if their organisation doesn’t use the Star Online for recording service user Stars. 

There is also a second site, the ‘training site’ which all Licensed Trainers can access.  The single function of the training site is to enable new practitioners and colleagues to understand how the system works.  Trainers can access this site and, if their organisation uses the Star Online system for completing and recording service user Stars, then they will find it a really helpful option. 

What’s new?

There are some new resources in the main site and a useful discrete space for Licensed Trainers in the help section. By accessing the training site, all Licensed Trainers can set up self-directed learning opportunities for their colleagues to practice using the system or trainers can just use it to deliver demonstrations of how it works.

So how do Licensed Trainers access other versions of the Star?

This has been a question that has been asked by many Licensed Trainers, so here is the answer…

Licensed Trainers are only able to access training resources for Stars that are linked to their account (these will have been set up by the account lead for each organisation).  If a decision is made to use a new Star version within an organisation or service, then the request for additional Star versions to be added to the account will need to be made by the manager of the service to the account lead. This request will need to be made before the training takes place or trainers will not be able to access training resources or other resources such as User Guides and Star Charts. 

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Licensed Trainers are part of a community of trainers. For more information on the benefits and uses of becoming a Licensed Trainer or what the process entails, please contact laura@triangleconsulting.co.uk

Demo dates for April-June 2021

A series of free introductory sessions for clients and trainers/trainees introducing them to the Star Online System are planned for April, May and June.

Each webinar will consist of a short video presentation, which will be followed by a question and answer season and it is designed to support clients by sharing knowledge, ideas and information. Please note: these sessions are not a substitute for official training.

A Practitioners Guide to the Star Online

This session is only relevant to practitioners who use the SOL and is not a substitute for training. The session covers an orientation of the new Star Online and during the session we will introduce practitioners to the new Star Online features, such as setting up engagements and managing notifications. It will also explore many of the main tasks practitioners need to complete, including:

  • Creating a service user
  • Adding Stars and Action Plans
  • Navigating the Help Centre and
  • Locating the Star resources you need

Click on the links below to book your place.

laptop with star online open on the screen

How to use the Reports dashboard on Star Online

Hosted by two Star experts, this workshop is ideal for Managers and anyone responsible for producing reports on Outcomes Star data. This session will cover:

  • The three new report dashboards for implementation, snapshot and distance-travelled reporting
  • How to use the filters
  • How to think about engagements to create instant and engaging charts that can be downloaded to add to any report or funding bid.

We will also discuss what the reports can tell you about how Stars are being used in a service and the progress made by service users.

Click on the links below to book your place.

These webinars are not a substitute for core training.

For more information on the sessions, how to book, or what clients need to do, please take a look at our previous posts, or find the links through the Star Online. Please note: We have limited spaces available, and we expect them to fill up quickly!

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If you would like to be included in a mailing list for future webinars, demo’s or sessions, please sign up for our mailing list, and if you have suggestions or would like to request specific content and sessions on the Outcomes Star and the Star Online please email webinars@triangleconsulting.co.uk

If you have any questions about remote training, new Stars, or would like any information on the new Star Online, or anything else, please contact us on info@triangleconsulting.co.uk or +44 (0) 207 272 8765.

Introducing CPD sessions for Licensed Trainers

A series of CPD sessions free for Licensed Trainers to educate, inform, inspire, and connect us all.

Triangle’s training and implementation teams have been hard at work to create a new series of CPD training sessions for all of our Licensed Trainers across the world. Licensed Trainers (LT’s) are individuals within organisations who have been nominated and trained to effectively deliver training and support within their organisations. As part of the Licensed Trainer support, Triangle has, in the past, offered a series of Development Days which provide an opportunity for Licensed Trainers to gain additional support, training, update their skills and network across other organisations.

 

What are the CPD sessions?

These new CPD sessions have been developed as a result of the changing working environment and in response to requests from the Trainers to provide ongoing support and regular CPD in specific areas. Licensed Trainers must complete a total of 6 hours of CPD training across the year in order to maintain their LT status.

 

What do the sessions cover?

These sessions cover a range of subjects and draw on specialist knowledge and information across Triangle and beyond. Licensed Trainers are encouraged to book sessions in areas that are of interest to their work and organisations.

When are the CPD sessions?

The CPD sessions are scheduled across the year. More information below:

Licensed Trainers will be emailed details of the sessions and information on how to book their places. For more information, please email laura@triangleconsulting.co.uk.

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Licensed Trainers are trained and licenced to run Outcomes Star training within an organisation. This ‘train the trainer’ route can be cost-effective for large organisations. For more information on how to become a Licensed Trainer and the benefits of joining the team please contact us.

Planning Star helps provide sensitive support for young asylum seekers

Photograph of Marie Buss

There was a sharp rise in the number of unaccompanied asylum-seeking children arriving in the UK last year, and children’s services are increasingly having to gear up to support them. It’s not easy – but the new Planning Star for young asylum seekers is ideally suited to the task, explains Triangle implementation manager Marie Buss

In August last year Kent County Council announced that it was no longer able to accept unaccompanied asylum-seeking children into its care – it had simply run out of capacity. The numbers of children, mainly teenagers, arriving on our shores without the care or protection of parents, had escalated, and local authorities in the South East were finding it hard to cope.

“Staff who aren’t used to supporting young asylum seekers need to be ready to meet their complex needs”

The Government’s National Transfer Scheme for unaccompanied asylum-seeking children is now under review to prevent the same thing happening again, and responsibility for these children is likely to be shared more equally around the UK. If that happens, staff who aren’t used to supporting vulnerable young asylum seekers need to be ready to meet their complex needs.

That’s where the Planning Star will really help. Designed in collaboration with the South East Strategic Partnership for Migration and the specialist charity Pathways to Independence, the Planning Star is specifically designed to support these young asylum seekers. It recognises that they arrive in this country without their parents, having undergone terrible experiences, and they can’t be expected to trust people, settle or integrate when they don’t even have a decision that they’re allowed to stay here.

Importantly, it takes into account that these children are traumatised, and it doesn’t push staff into trying to do support plans that may prove unrealistic. It shapes a conversation that covers the right areas and is sensitive to that child’s experience. And it’s very visual, which is crucial for children struggling with learning a new language on top of everything else.

“The Star is very forgiving and it’s very trauma-informed.”

So I think it will be incredibly useful for local authorities, children’s charities and residential services to have the Planning Star in their back pocket. As an implementation manager for Triangle, I’ve done some training with services where they were using the Young Person’s Star (for looked-after children) with everyone, including unaccompanied young asylum-seekers. I’ve shown them the Planning Star and trained them in the difference. And the response has been “thank goodness!”, because the Planning Star recognises that asylum-seeking children are on a totally different journey, and have very little control over their lives.

The Star is very forgiving and it’s very trauma-informed. It accepts that children and young people may be starting with a feeling of “I don’t know anyone, I can’t speak the language, I don’t know anything, I don’t trust any of those adults” – and that’s perfectly normal. Young asylum seekers need time and a lot of help to get to the point where they feel ready to talk and then give things a go themselves. Just getting to “stable”the third stage of the Journey of Change that underlies the Star – is a huge accomplishment for these children.

“Just getting to “stable” – the third stage of the Journey of Change that underlies the Star – is a huge accomplishment for these children.”

I love the fact that the Star has one area specifically about immigration with a different Journey of Change that is all about coping with uncertainty and making different plans for different contingencies (known as triple-track planning). And I appreciate how Triangle and its collaborators managed to design it in a way that even if children don’t get the permission to stay in the UK, it’s all about getting them ready for that decision.

It’s about getting children to think, “I need to not get too hung up on the immigration, that’s out of my control. I can only show up when they ask me to show up at the Home Office, but I need to get an education, I need to make friends and I need to think about what my options are in this country, but also be prepared that I may have to return. And I need to think about how I can make the most of this situation while I’m here, and trust the workers to look after me.”

This is something we’re passionate about at Triangle. We’ve done a lot of Stars for children, but I love the fact that the Planning Star is so specialist. All the Stars we design get under the skin of the client group and are trauma-informed, but this one is super trauma-informed. I think people would have forgiven us for not wanting to go down the route of immigration and unaccompanied asylum seeking children – it’s a complex sector, it’s quite legal and confusing – but I like the fact that we did it anyway, for children who will really benefit from it.

One other huge plus – the Planning Star allows people to collate data on asylum-seeking children that captures how they feel when they arrive, what support they accept, what their priorities are, where they’re able to progress, and what areas need more funding. For campaigners and policy-makers that is like gold dust. And if it leads to even better support for unaccompanied asylum-seeking children, that would be truly great.

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The Planning Star was published in July 2020. A separate version, for adult refugees, was published at the end of 2020. Both Stars are available to all organisations with a Star licence and training is available for workers and managers. Contact us for more information on info@triangleconsulting.co.uk or +44 (0) 207 272 8765.

Vacancy: Client Services Advisor

Looking for a new challenge? Are you interested in being a part of a social enterprise and with supporting our client organisations to make a measurable difference in the lives of vulnerable service users?

Triangle is seeking a capable client services advisor to support our clients, and provide excellent customer service to assist in responding to pre-sales and post-sales enquiries, provide a first point of contact with organisations and individuals and more.

We’re looking for a pleasant and self-confident customer service professional, preferably with familiarity and experience in the health care and social sectors, who will respond to all client enquiries and advise clients on our products and services. Working closely with your colleagues, you will help clients and prospective clients to make the right decisions about how their frontline services can evidence and support change of service users and ensure organisations have the right licences and training to use the Outcomes Star.

The Client Services Advisor will play a vital role in responding to and managing the growing level of enquiries about the Outcomes Star. You will have great listening skills, able to identify and respond to concerns, queries and issues and provide information to organisations. You will be great at handling enquiries, as well as pinpointing key individuals in the organisations and building rapport and relationships with them. Main tasks will include answering telephone and digital enquiries, and understanding how our clients work, the services that they offer and their needs, as well as the needs of the people that they help. You’ll also work to help them to discover if the Star is relevant for their needs and, if so, which Outcomes Star will best fit with their requirements.  You will also need to use Salesforce and generate quotes, provide account maintenance to existing clients, follow up and continue to build on those relationships.

Ideally, the successful applicant will be based in Hove, although we are open to flexible working arrangements.

Find out more and apply

Visit our Careers page to find out more about us and the role.

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You can download the job description and application form from our careers page to see if this is the next step for you. If you’d like an informal conversation about the position, please email miranda@triangleconsulting.co.uk

Making that change: new year, new role

Jim Boreland

Changing jobs during a pandemic, just before Christmas, isn’t usually the best laid plan of mice and men. But for Jim Borland, Triangle’s Implementation Lead (Scotland), the opportunity to work at Triangle was too hard to resist…

“I saw the role of Implementation Lead as an opportunity to do something different and worthwhile, learn new skills and meet new people (albeit virtually), and help support others making big changes in their lives. That in turn would provide me with the motivation to look forward to each working day, instead of looking back with a degree of disappointment.”

When’s the best time to change jobs?

Just before Christmas probably isn’t an ideal time,  especially in the midst of a pandemic. I expect a lot of people would be more inclined towards the status quo and not opening themselves up to any more potential risk, but that’s the time I happened to start working with the team behind the Outcomes Star.

Prior to this, I was in a stable, well-paid job that utilised my skills, with working hours and a flexibility around them that was good for the work / life balance. Nevertheless, everything was very much the same day after day. Looking back, the phrase ‘Ground hog Day’ springs to mind, as each day merged into one, and I was left at the end of it thinking, “What did I actually achieve?” Generally, the answer was “nothing” or “not a lot” and, whilst there was no pressure on me to do any more than I was, I found myself becoming really de-motivated and wanting to feel as if I was contributing more during my working day, rather than just being present. So, something needed to change.

Making that change

When I reflect on the past 40 odd years of my working life, a lot of career changes have happened around Christmas time. The opportunity to move to Triangle was no different in timing, so maybe it was fate telling me to move on and do something different. So that’s what I did!

It was fascinating to me when speaking to former colleagues before I left, that the most common statements said to me were – “I’m really sorry you’re leaving” and “I wish it were me”. I think that speaks volumes and if anything gave me some justification about my decision to move on. 

I saw the role of Implementation Lead as an opportunity to do something different and worthwhile, learn new skills and meet new people (albeit virtually), and help support others making big changes in their lives. That in turn would provide me with the motivation to look forward to each working day, instead of looking back with a degree of disappointment.

Working with Triangle

After I started, the first thing that struck me was how welcoming everyone was and how willing they were to spend time with me to explain about their roles and their experiences (good and challenging) and help me to settle in and feel part of the team. I know that’s generally part of any induction, but for me, this felt very genuine and not just a thing that had to be done. I’ve never worked anywhere else, where everyone from the Directors down to staff on the ground (and everyone in-between) took the time to talk to me and welcome me to my new role.

That meant a lot to me and again, it’s interesting speaking to the other new members of the Triangle team who have felt the same about their own onboarding experience; I think it’s something that everyone should take a great deal of pride in.

As for my role, so far, it’s everything I thought it would be. It’s busy and at times challenging as I get to grips with new working practices and processes, especially the IT whilst working remotely!

But perhaps the biggest difference to how you would normally start a new job, is that this introduction to Triangle, and all the other meetings I’ve had since I started, have taken place remotely. That, is in no way strange due to the circumstances we find ourselves in. However, it does give me the opportunity of meeting people away from the traditional formal ‘face to face’ settings within an office. With our current ways of working, I get to see people in their natural environment, without any ‘professional’ trappings around them.

For me, being able to look past the person to see the art on their wall, what their workspace looks like, what’s out of their window and being able to speak to them when they’re sitting on a couch or at the kitchen table surrounded by their children and partners, rather than across an office table, gives me more of flavour of the ‘real’ person. In my opinion, that can only lead to more honest and open relationships, which in turn enhances the whole of the work experience.

As a result, this ‘positive’ impact of the pandemic, in causing us to change from the traditional working methods, has hopefully been beneficial and given us a better understanding of each other, rather than just a work ‘image’ of a colleague.

So, as I finish looking back over my first few months in my new job, I can honestly say I’m glad I made the move. It’s been a good start and provides a solid base from which I can build on.

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Sign up to our newsletter to get updates on Triangle, news on Outcomes Stars and new resources and more. Contact us to speak to Jim or anyone else on the team, or if you would like any more information.

New Star resource for Young Carers – flashcards for the Carers Star

Sara Burns is one of the founding directors of Triangle and leads on the development of new Outcomes Stars. Here she explains why these new flashcards were needed and how they can help

So far, I have always managed to be in the room when we start developing a new Star. There is something of the texture, feel or nuance of a client group and sector that is communicated by more than words. One day I may have to do that on a screen. While I assume that I’ll find a way, I’d still rather not. I vividly remember standing in workshops many years ago when developing the Carers Star. We collaborated with the Carers Trust and they involved their members – mostly small, local services supporting those caring for a family member or friend. Many in the room were themselves carers or had been in the past, and it was invaluable to hear, imbibe and understand their experience. Although we always carry out a thorough literature review, much of what shapes the Stars, and makes them speak to people, is that deep, ‘bottom up’ listening to workers, service users and others.

People asked for resources tailored to young carers

Ideally, each version of the Star serves a broad sector and range of people or needs and that was our aim with the Carer’s Star. Nevertheless, most people accessing services are older adults, caring for elderly relatives, and the Star is what fits best for them. However, since we published the Carers Star, there have been requests from workers who support young carers for tools tailored to them. In this instance, young carers referring to children and young people caring for a relative at home. This came to a head when I was in Australia in early 2020. I was attending an event for the Australian government Carers Gateway roll-out the Carers Star to all services across Australia. Many services in the sector support young carers too and we agreed to develop flashcards to make the Carers Star friendlier and speak more directly to these service users as well.

Young carers can be both mature and vulnerable

Estimates of the number of young carers in the UK range from 230,000 – 700,000. Those accessing services are a fraction of the total: most are not recognised as needing support and don’t come forward due to stigma, not knowing help is out there or afraid of shaming or being taken away from their family. They are interesting and often impressive. The added responsibility can make young carers mature beyond their years and many express pride at being able to help their family members. Yet as a group they are more vulnerable than others, struggling with education, financially poor and more likely to have health difficulties. Research indicates that they worry a lot – about the health or behaviour of the person they care for, their own well-being, who will do the caring in the future, or about being late and unable to meet the demands of education. They can be isolated, with little in common with their peers.

We created flashcards with words and images relevant for young carers

Flashcards offer an accessible, visual extra resource and are already available for many versions of the Star. To develop flashcards for young carers, we carried out interviews and asked workers to consult with the young carers they supported. We also did a literature review to understand more about the specific needs and priorities for young carers. We produced draft flashcards and asked for collaboration to try these out with young people and gather feedback.

We published the new flashcards for young carers in March 2021, with areas of the Carers Star specifically focused on the aspect most relevant to young people. ‘Work and volunteering’ on the Star is represented by school and education in the flashcards. ‘Finances’ is renamed to ‘money’ and highlights worry about family finances rather than budgeting or banks. ‘Time to yourself’ features football and other leisure activities more relevant to children and young people.

We made changes to the Journey of Change underpinning the Star. Some young carers were alarmed by wording which implied that they needed to be independent of support by the top of the scales and indeed this is not appropriate for children and young people, so we removed it. They also found the end point of ‘as good as it can be’ rather depressing, so that was also changed in the flashcards to ‘things are okay’. The start part point of ‘cause for concern’ also triggered anxiety, so we shortened it to a more neutral ‘concerns’. There were other changes too, but this gives a flavour.

The final version of the flashcards for young carers tested well and can be used flexibly by workers to initiate and support a conversation about the seven Carers Star areas that is much more appropriate for children and young people. For consistency, we have also produced flashcards for the Carers Star for the core audience of adult carers. Both sets of flashcards can be downloaded by clients from their Star Online portal.

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The Carers Star is an Outcomes Star for use with people caring for others, it is designed to help organisations and the carers that they support.  It is one of four main Stars which can be used across the adult care sector, other Stars include the Independent Living Star, Life Star or the Older Person’s Star. Organisations that work with young carers may find that My Star or other Stars designed for the family and children sector may be more suitable for working with young people, children and carers under 18. For more information on the flashcards or the Carers Star and Stars for the adult care sector, please contact us.

Introducing Miranda Costin, Triangle’s Finance and HR Administrator

Headshot photo of Miranda Costin

Miranda Costin joined Triangle in the role of Finance and HR Administrator just over 3 months ago. Here she shares why she joined the team, what it was like joining during lockdown and how her expectations have been exceeded in more ways than one…

How did I hear about Triangle?

I was sitting ’round my friend’s kitchen table (socially distanced, of course) when I mentioned to her that I would really like to work for an organisation that makes a difference, especially in the current climate. She said “Have you heard of a job site called Charity Jobs? It’s specifically for charities, not for profit and third sector organisations to advertise their vacant positions”. A cup of tea later and a quick boot-up of the laptop led me to Triangle’s ad for a Finance and HR Administrator. I applied…

Interviewing amid a pandemic?

A few weeks after applying, I was over the moon to hear from Triangle with a date for an initial interview. As there couldn’t be any face-to-face contact we arranged a Zoom call instead.
I had a total of three interviews.

  • The first was all about the position itself with the Finance and HR Director.
  • The second was with two potential colleagues.
  • The third was with the Managing Director.

 

“Three interviews?!” I hear you cry. Yes, and apart from the first one, which included some actual accounting tasks, the calls were more like informal chats. To give you an idea… I was in my son’s bedroom (the Wi-Fi signal is strongest there) and someone spotted the vivarium to the side of me. At first, I think they thought “Is it a snake?!”, but I explained it was my son’s pet bearded dragon and offered to show her to them. Afterwards I was sure me digressing from the task in hand meant I’d scuppered my chances. Who in their right mind would do that during an interview?! But I was wrong, the next day I was offered the job!

Meeting the team

The week before my start date I was invited to their annual “Away Day”, which due to COVID was more of a “Together Day” via Zoom. With presentations, a “who’s desk is this?” quiz and an afternoon conversation café/social it was a great way to meet the team. I also received a bottle of bubbles beforehand to raise a toast to Triangle’s achievements and the new year ahead.

Work-life, home-life

My first week and a half at Triangle followed a well-structured induction.  My predecessor moved on to pastures new, so I went solo fairly quickly, working from home. On top of this who could have predicted a third lockdown? My children were with me, at home and needing support with their home-schooling. Arghhhhh!

A day in the life as Finance and HR Administrator:

My day normally starts around 8:00am when I download the bank feed and let relevant departments know what monies have come in. I then work through my emails and any accounts related tasks I have in my diary for that day, raising sales invoices, bill processing, credit control, staff expenses etc. I’m soon to take on payroll and HR duties in the coming months.  A fair part of my week is taken up with Zoom meetings with colleagues but I’m sure this will subside when we’re back in the office, whenever that may be. I close making sure most emails (particularly the urgent ones!) have been answered.

What do I bring to the role?

Having worked in accounts for over 25 years I bring depth of experience an all-round good understanding of bookkeeping procedures and excellent time-management skills. Such a role is integral to an organisation, as is one that supplies the team with cake and baked goods – I’m hoping my daughter will keep up with her newfound lockdown skills of baking so I can bring her creations in for my colleagues!

Three fun facts about me:

  • At the age of 11 was advised by career advisor to become a bicycle repair (wo)man. I started studying English instead and ended up working in accounts.
  • Whilst working for an African Cargo Airline almost ended up on a flight from Shannon in Ireland to Tripoli in Lybia on a horse flight for Colonel Ghadaffi. Fortunately for me, I didn’t have my passport on me that day!
  • During Whalefest 2015 tried to convince Michaela Strachan that she used to present Big Cat Diary, completely mixing her up with Saba Douglas- Hamilton. So embarrassing!

Fast forward

It’s been a bit stressful at times, but overall, I’m really enjoying it. Working at Triangle and home-schooling! I can be on a Zoom call and my daughter walks in needing help with her schoolwork or my son starts playing his guitar in the room next to mine.  I’ve been able to get to know my colleagues really well having discussed tooth decay, digestion, art projects and various other school topics in parallel to doing my work! The team is really friendly and veery supportive of one other. They are an amazing bunch!

The “hopefully not too distant” future

So far, I have met two of my colleagues in person as well as my predecessor. While remote working hasn’t hindered my induction or onboarding experience, I’m really looking forward to being in the office and meeting the rest of the team. Until then, my cats will continue to walk over the keyboard and my daughter will remind me it’s time to log off!

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Sign up to our newsletter to get updates on Triangle, news on Outcomes Stars and new resources and more. Contact us if you would like any more information.

International Women’s Day: I didn’t choose to challenge – but that’s the outcome

Sara Burns reflects on the 2021 International Women's Day theme “choose to challenge” in relation to founding a women-led organisation and creating the Outcomes Stars.

She highlights the recently published Change Star, which is designed to help reduce violence against women and being presented this week at the ANROWS conference in Australia.

I haven’t chosen to challenge. That’s not how it feels. Challenge was not what motivated us, as three women creating the effective and widely used Outcomes Star tools, and Triangle, our successful social enterprise. Rather, my response – our response – was always to recognise when something wasn’t working and get on with finding a better way. We never overtly challenged, confronted criticism or found out what the competition might be, we just didn’t accept the status quo and did something different. We didn’t have the time or energy to directly challenge because there was so much call for what we were doing, because it worked for people in a huge range of services. We invested our energy in creating tools that were helpful, engaging, demystifying and accessible. It felt pragmatic and positive and it did challenge. It still does.

Doing things differently does challenge

I was working in monitoring and evaluation of health and social care, particularly addiction services, in the late 1990s when the concept of outcomes measurement first crossed from the States to the UK. I was commissioned to look at what that would mean, on the assumption that it was wholly inappropriate. I concluded that while funding on the basis of blunt, end outcomes was unhelpful, focusing monitoring more fully on the people you support and understanding how change happens for them, could be transformative. Rather than focus on ‘bums on seats’, this opened the potential to listen to people and witness their progress directly and holistically. Further, I could find practical ways to identify and measure even amorphous, internal changes so they could be part of the conversation. That was 20 years ago, and my work won a charity award. I was invited to speak at conferences and widely challenged. I hadn’t chosen to challenge, but I had found a different approach.

We just didn't accept the status quo and did something different.

Creating the Star and Triangle as a women-led social enterprise

A couple of years later, around my kitchen table, the ‘triangle’ of Joy MacKeith, Kate Graham and I were grappling with the considerable challenge of measuring how people change across the wide range of St Mungo’s services. We were faced with far more variables and questions than anyone could possibly be asked in a questionnaire. Out of our grappling arose the prototype for the Outcomes Star, a genuine collaboration and co-creation. Working together was so effective, the three of us formed Triangle. That was nearly 20 years and 40 Outcomes Stars ago. Kate moved on after a few years, choosing new challenges, and recently, we recruited a managing director, a man, but Triangle is still mostly women-led, with a workforce of mainly women. We are passionate about work life balance, having created the enterprise while raising children; we believe people, and especially women, can have meaningful and responsible roles, part time and without working silly hours.

The Star supports gentle, considered and appropriate challenge

Choosing to challenge is relevant when it comes to using the Outcomes Star and challenge is a word often used in Star training for workers. It is a gentle, considered and appropriate challenge. When a worker sits down with someone they support, the Star can help guide a conversation about the different aspects of their life, and the completed Star reflects information back to both of them in an accessible, visual way. Workers need all their keyworking skills to choose when to focus on building trusting relationships, reassurance and confidence and when to challenge someone’s perspective or point out dissonance. The aim is to arrive at a realistic, shared understanding of where somebody is in their journey of recovery or change, so that support can be tailored to what they need and can engage with.

Further, the Star can be used not only for workers to challenge, but to be challenged by those they support, who can use the Star to collect evidence of the difficulties they face and the achievements they make. That can demonstrate powerfully how the service user can take responsibility for and drive the change processes they are involved in. There aren’t many tools out there that provide this opportunity, but by being collaborative, accessible, visual and shared, the Star does.

Creating the Change Star for men – to challenge violence against women

Using the Star to help workers challenge is perhaps particularly pertinent to the new Change Star, being presented as a poster last week at the ANROWS conference in Australia. Developed in collaboration with UnitingCare Queensland, it is for use with men who have been violent or abusive in other ways towards women partners or ex-partners and are in support programmes to change. I lead on and am integral to the development of new versions of the Star, now supported by a small team. I find it completely fascinating to engage at that level in a new sector, listening to people and understanding how things change for those they support. Often, I get to hear from clients directly, and they are always part of the co-creation process. It is rare that I am not excited when we start a new Star. But the Change Star was one of those – our exploratory literature review was not optimistic about the outcomes of these support programmes and it was not a client group I was interested to get to know.

From the first workshop, my views were challenged, through listening to workers who run groups in the change programmes, who are themselves fascinated by what motivates the men and how to enable at least some of them to make real and lasting change. I wasn’t confident that the Star was the right tool, because most versions for adults rely on the potential for self-awareness and honesty, at least as people progress. But it does work. The Journey of Change maps progress from men not recognising or denying any wrongdoing or harm, including some men who are experts at image management, through different levels of acknowledgment and taking responsibility. Towards the top of the scales, men are able to put themselves in the shoes of the women they have harmed and get some understanding of the impact from the women’s perspective. This is key to enabling them to make lasting changes. Not all get there.

The Change Star also recognises that many men who are abusive have also been abused or traumatised. We needed to write the scales to hit the right tone between not colluding with the men and not shaming them, as shame is so unhelpful for change. I was inspired by the workers because they are expert at that, learning when and how they choose to challenge, without collusion or shaming, enabling the men to recognise and build on the positive strengths and values they do have to confront the harm they have caused and how they need to change to be safe for women and children to be around. The pilot response was extraordinarily positive; the Star helped make the change process more transparent and shared, giving men in the programs clear feedback about where they were and their possible next steps.

The vast majority of the Outcomes Stars are ungendered. The only other exceptions are the Empowerment Star for women who have experienced domestic abuse, and one of the suite of Family Stars – the New Mums Star. Others for parents are largely used with women as they tend to be the ones engaged with services to enable their children to thrive, but those and also the Parent & Baby Star in the field of perinatal health mental health equally work with fathers and those who are gender diverse.

Challenge helps us keep learning and responding to a changing world

The Outcomes Stars being out there so widely, naturally invites challenge. This we welcome. We choose to respond to challenge and engage with it as helpful information. The world has changed a lot in the 15 years that we have been developing versions of the Star, and we have learned a lot in developing successive versions, now spanning conception to grave. The challenge includes in relation to gender. For example, we are currently reviewing the first Star we created, in the homelessness sector; one of the reasons to review now is that women made up a very small proportion of the client group when we first developed it in 2006, but many services now support significant numbers of women who are homeless. We are sometimes challenged about the Stars that are gendered, including the Empowerment Star, which we are also reviewing this year. However, in that case it is clear that the vast majority of domestic violence and abuse is against women, even more so looking at serious abuse and death, so while we are open to collaborating on a variant that could be for men and gender diverse, we will keep the focus on women for that Star.

In conclusion, I have enjoyed reflecting on this year’s theme for International Women’s Day. Though my starting point is that I haven’t consciously chosen to challenge, and I’m grateful to the many people who do overtly confront and challenge injustice, challenge takes many forms and is relevant and integral to many aspects of the Star and Triangle. This includes the skilful challenge of workers helping men acknowledge and take responsibility for harm without falling into colluding or shaming. It includes how we respond to those that challenge us as an invitation to look and learn and change and different aspects of the Outcomes Stars and Triangle.

***

The Change Star was published in 2020 and is designed to support organisations working to empower men in behavioural change. Australia’s National Research Organisation for Women’s Safety Limited  (ANROWS) is an independent, not-for-profit research organisation established to produce evidence to support the reduction of violence against women and their children. Their 2021 conference was held on 1-5 March 2021 and explored how policymakers, practice designers and practitioners are using evidence to understand, respond to and prevent violence against women and their children.

The Empowerment Star is the Outcomes Star for use with women who have experienced domestic violence. For more information on either Star or to find out more about, and feedback into, the upcoming reviews of the Stars please contact us. 

Vacancy: Marketing and Product Manager

Want to be a part of something good? Seeking a new relationship (with an employer, not romantically)?

We are looking for a marvellous marketing and product manager to take our brand and products to new heights and push us forward into the future.

You:

An amazing, creative and driven marketing and product manager with a desire to make a difference in the world. You’ll enjoy long walks (possibly), creating stimulating campaigns, writing copy, working on several strands of work across different sectors. You’ll love co-ordinating and commissioning content, creating plans and product launches. You won’t mind nurturing long-distance relationships with several remote based staff.  

 

Us:

A growing social enterprise, committed to strengthening our brand and identity. We’re still trying to find ourselves and our marketing voice, but we have a strong foundation in products, tools and a long history of working to support other organisations, charities, local authorities and in working to empower them, their keyworkers and, ultimately, their service users. We’ve recently committed to really upping our game and working on our brands and messaging and would love you to be a part of that.

 

Our hiring process:

  1. You find or are sent our job ad
  2. You read the ad
  3. It interests you
  4. You might read it again
  5. You visit our website and download the job description and application form
  6. You take a look at our website and realise the impact you could have on our organisation
  7. You decide to apply and fill in the application form
  8. We are interested in you and you attend an interview
  9. You complete our tests and accept our job offer
  10. You start to make a difference in an organisation that exists to make a difference

 

Find out more and apply

Swipe right, (aka visit our Careers page) to find out more about us and how we could be the perfect match.

Choose us to take your career to the next level.

*****

You can download the job description and application form from our careers page to see if this is the next step for you. If you’d like an informal conversation about the position, please email angela@triangleconsulting.co.uk