Making change visible: The Outcomes Star captures important achievements that could be missed by focusing on hard outcomes

As the creators of a suite of measures capturing distance travelled towards ‘hard outcomes’ we are sometimes asked whether there is evidence that Star readings correlate with or predict outcomes such as offending or employment. In some cases, we hear there is resistance to using the Star and instead commissioners, managers or funders are only interested in how many service users have ticked the box of meeting these hard outcomes. This misses out on capturing important achievements, ignores the role of internal change in maintaining concrete achievements and disincentives working with those most in need of support.

This briefing describes some of the evidence we have of the ‘predictive validity’ of the Star – that it does in fact predict outcomes such as school attendance, employment, training and accommodation status. This includes findings reported in two articles recently published in peer-reviewed journals.

In it, we also explain the value of the Outcomes Star in measuring the full journey leading up to and including changes in behaviour or circumstances.

The author of this briefing, Dr Anna Good, draws on her expertise in behaviour change theory to summarise the strong evidence base supporting the importance of the changes assessed by the Star. It is clear from the research literature (and our extensive experience of working with service providers), that early steps on the Star’s ‘Journey of Change’ such as acknowledging problems and accepting help are often essential to subsequent change in hard outcomes. Moreover, change in skills, confidence and beliefs are often key factors in the maintenance of life-changing improvements.

****

Please download our new briefing, ‘The Outcomes Star captures important achievements that could be missed by focusing on hard outcomes’.  If you would like more information or support about the use of Star data, please get in touch with us at info@triangleconsulting.co.uk or +44 (0) 207 272 8765.

The Outcomes Star as a management information tool

The Outcomes Star is well established as a tool for supporting effective keywork and demonstrating achievements. Here, 'Triangle's Research Analyst, Dr Anna Good, discusses a third benefit, the opportunity for internal learning. This new briefing describes how Star data can be used to improve service delivery.

Learning from Star data at all levels of the organisation

Over three-quarters of Outcomes Star users in our client survey said Star data reports were ‘useful for learning how their service was ‘doing’ and ‘helpful in managing or developing the ‘service’. Indeed, Star data can provide meaningful management information at all levels, from a service manager reviewing a single ‘worker’s caseload to a senior management team reviewing data aggregated across services. 

Alongside other data (e.g. satisfaction surveys, output and process data), Star data reports, such as those available from our upgraded Star Online System, allow organisations to ask increasingly focused questions about what is happening with the people they support.

Managers can gain essential insights by looking at differences in starting points and change across outcome areas, client groups, and service settings.  Because these insights are likely to be greatest when compared against prior expectations, Triangle has produced resources to support ‘Star data ‘forecasting’.

Learning from Initial Star readings

The distribution of first Star readings provides a valuable overview of people’s needs coming into the service. Star readings can be compared against expectations to ensure that service users are entering the service appropriately and are offered suitable interventions.

An excellent example of the use of first readings is in Staffordshire County Council, where they look at start readings to see if the families are at the right level of service. In our interview with the Commissioning Manager at the time, she told us that “if we have families in our Family Intervention service that have readings of five, I look a bit deeper to see if we’re really using our resources correctly”.

Learning from change in Star readings

Movement in Star readings for each outcome area also provides an opportunity to learn where things are going well and when further exploration of service delivery may be warranted. 

For example, if one service shows different outcomes to another service, this is a starting point for further investigation:

  • Is there other evidence that one service facilitates better outcomes than another?
  • Are there reasons why one service might be supporting people better than another?
  • Is the service user profile different in the different services?
  • Is practice significantly different in that service, and might there be lessons for other services?

A more in-depth analysis of the movement from each Journey of Change stage is also possible, offering more significant potential for learning than typical numerical outcome scales. Managers can explore which stage transitions are happening frequently and where there may be blockages to making other transitions. For example, a service may be very good at helping service users to begin accepting help but struggle more with moving them towards greater self-reliance, limiting the progress currently being made. Specific changes to service delivery might then need to be developed.

*****

Please download our new briefing, ‘The Outcomes Star as a management information tool for more detail on how Star data reports can be used to improve service delivery. If you would like more information or support about the use of Star data, please get in touch with us at info@triangleconsulting.co.uk or +44 (0) 207 272 8765.

Outcomes Star Licensed Trainers – Continual Professional Development programme (CPD)

In this blog, Laura Baker, Trainer/ Implementation Lead and Kate Hamill, Training Manager of the Outcomes Star, detail how Triangle has launched a new online annual CPD programme to support licensed trainers.

Before the pandemic, we were all familiar with training delivered face-to-face in city-centre venues, and Triangle had already started trialling new ways to support licensed trainers. Still, the pandemic accelerated our plans to develop and deliver a new CPD training programme online for our global Outcome Star licensed trainer community.

Our CPD programme has increased engagement, increased communication and generated significantly more opportunities to share top tips and good practices.

During the last twelve months,  we have delivered a wide range of informative and interactive sessions focussed on supporting our community of licensed trainers (LT’s) across the globe. We aim to provide key ‘takeaways’ in every session for licensed trainers to immediately use in their own training rooms.  The intensive development and delivery process results have been very positive, and over 53% of our global Licensed Trainers have already attended sessions. 

Our new and free online CPD programme is now available to book for 2022, using both MS Teams and Zoom to deliver the sessions.

“The (CPD ) sessions are an inspiration.”

We are committed to providing the highest quality training support to ensure the highest quality use of the Outcome Star suite of tools. We want to thank all those who have attended, and we look forward to welcoming more of our Outcomes Star licensed trainer community into your free CPD sessions soon.

Licensed Trainers can download the full timetable with details and registration information here or book their places below.

****

Please note that the above sessions are subject to change. Licensed Trainers must complete a total of 6 hours of CPD training across the year in order to maintain their LT status. 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.

For more information on how to become a Licensed Trainer and the CPD sessions please contact us.

New dates: Introductory Star Online sessions for managers and practitioners

Session 1: A practitioners guide to the Star Online

  • Wednesday 16th March 2022 at 14:00
    Register in advance on Zoom here.  
  • Tuesday 19th April 2022 at 11:00
    Register in advance on Zoom here. 

Session 2: Introduction to Star Online Reporting Dashboards. 

  • Wednesday 9th March 2022 at 14:00
    Register in advance on Zoom here.
  • Monday 25th April 2022 at 12:00
    Register in advance on Zoom here

Suitable for managers, or other staff interested in learning how to create charts, using the dashboard to support data-driven reports.

The session will cover key functions, filters and how to create charts to support reports, funding bids. Participants will learn how to illustrate progress made by service users and and evidence how the Stars are being used across the service.

Need to know more?

Contact us or your Implementation Lead for more information.

Mapping the Integration Star onto the Home Office Indicators of Integration framework

The Home Office’s Indicators of Integration framework was developed in collaboration with academics, migrant organisations, the voluntary sector, local and national governments, and migrants themselves in order to provide a common language for ‘understanding, planning, monitoring and measuring integration’.

The latest version published in 2019, identifies 14 domains of integration with which to design, implement and measure the success of interventions. The framework suggests outcome indicators for each domain, for example the percentage of people in paid work and other ‘hard’ outcome measures. These measures are valuable but do not assess distance travelled towards the outcomes at an individual or cohort level.

 

The Refugee Council recognised the need for a version of the Outcomes Star, a keywork and outcomes measurement tool, that was aligned with the Indicators of Integration framework, gathering relevant distance-travelled outcomes data and also supporting engagement and good practice in services. In 2019, they approached Triangle, which led to the co-creation of the Integration Star for use with refugees needing support to integrate into and build a life in their new country. The co-creation included Refugee Council services and workers, Community Refugee Organisations, and refugees.

 

The domains identified in the Indicators of Integration framework were used as a basis for a literature review informing the first workshop in the development of the Integration Star. Later in the development process, the domains were mapped against the Integration Star outcome areas. The aim was to create a good fit between the framework and the Star, while at the same time as creating a user-friendly and empowering tool with accessible language and a manageable number of outcome areas to support conversations between workers and refugees. This pragmatic approach means that there is not an exact one-to-one mapping between framework domains and Star outcome areas, as shown in the table below:

****

To find out more, get in touch on info@triangleconsulting.co.uk or +44(0) 207 272 8765. The above is also available as a pdf download.

Outcomes Star training pricing increase

Triangle, like many organisations, needed to make a sudden shift into Remote Training Delivery (RTD) at the outset of the pandemic in March 2021. Our training team did a fantastic job of rising to the challenge, adopting new digital learning strategies to swiftly produce an online version of the core Star training course by May 2020. We have been delighted with the success of all our Remote Training Delivery.

We have found many organisations have welcomed the ease of online training, as well as cutting of travel costs for geographically dispersed teams.

“The trainer was excellent at executing the delivery, and I will be adopting some of her techniques within remote delivery”—Outcomes Star client.

We have been able to maintain the price of our training at the same level since 2013 and have now permanently changed our training delivery model to offer a choice of face-to-face training and remote training for our Outcomes Star clients. We are incredibly proud of our dual training services and have decided to introduce a price increase to reflect the expertise and work that goes into providing such a high standard of learning.

Our new training prices will start from the 1st November 2021. Please note, all previous quotes, verbal or written, will be honoured until January 2022.

We look forward to training you soon, face-to-face or remotely and to demonstrating how well the Stars measure service user progression, highlight areas of service delivery improvements and illustrate social impact. #Enablinghelp.

Find more information about training courses, pricing and booking here: Star training courses.

Mental Health Awareness Day 10th Oct 2021

To mark World Mental Health Day 2021, Triangle has spoken to two Outcomes Stars Licensed Trainers from Alternative Futures Group to get under the bonnet of life as a Licensed Trainer in Mental Health.

Anthony Szuminski

Learning Partner

I view the Outcomes Stars as a compass, that guides the people we support in a holistic way and empowers them to gain awareness of which important areas of their lives they can improve upon. Which is ultimately is why we are here.

What is your role?
I am trainer/ facilitator working for a charitable organisation called Alternative Futures Group. Our organisation provides support to people who have a range of conditions, learning disabilities, mental health issues, dementia, epilepsy and physical disabilities.

Which Star do you deliver training in?
We use the Recovery Star  in our treatment recovery centres and community houses to support people with Mental Health conditions. As well as Outcomes Stars training, I also facilitate a wide range of other training, such as understanding learning disabilities, first aid, organisational inductions.

What do you most like about being a Licensed Trainer 
What I appreciate most about being a Licensed Trainer is that we are helping to train and support our staff to use a tool (Outcomes Star TM), based upon a proactive and proven approach which fits well with our charity’s ethos.

How does the Star benefit your work and support your service users? 
Our charity believes that understanding people’s unique needs and exploring how best to support them should be rooted in fact and evidence as this is what ultimately leads to better outcomes. The Outcomes Stars are rooted in these beliefs as well, making them a great fit for our charity.

I view the Outcomes Stars as a compass, that guides the people we support in a holistic way and empowers them to gain awareness of which important areas of their lives they can improve upon.  Which is ultimately is why we are here.

The Star is a great tool as it guides our staff to ask the right questions to be able to have meaningful conversations with people about their lives as a whole.  This uncovers the areas people need most help with, in a flexible, consistent and trauma-informed way. The Star data collected also helps to inform and improve our service delivery support.  As well as evidencing the range of support we have provided for people.

How does it feel to be a licensed trainer?
I find the Recovery Star  can truly reflect what an individual’s support needs are, if completed properly, the difference it can make to people’s lives is what inspires me. It’s also very interesting being a Licensed Trainer.  The people I train in how to use the Star, often have fantastic insight into the wide range of life experiences people have which is fascinating.

I deliver ‘Introducing the Star’ training, two mornings a week (3.5 hours) remotely and this is working very well for our organisation. My recently completed certificate of online facilitation accreditation (COLF) has also helped improve my online delivery and raise the standard of all remote training at AFG.

Any trainer tips to share?
I would highly recommend recording yourself if you can get permission when doing a session. You will see many things you may not be aware of, such as your pace, tone of voice and clarity. All of which can be improved upon, doing this has worked for me.   

Simon Porter

Learning Partner – Mental Health Division

The Star benefits our work... being able to clearly demonstrate progress and change for our patients, as well as create action plans that are meaningful is greatly valued.

What do you do/role?
I am a Learning Partner for Alternative Futures Group.  We are a social care charity with around 2000 employees covering the whole of the Northwest of England. Training in the olden days (how we now refer to pre -March 2020) meant a lot of travelling around, but today I will be at my desk in my home office, delivering virtual training.

Which Star do you deliver training in?
Our charity mainly provides support for people with learning disabilities and people with mental illnesses.  We use the Recovery Star  to support people’s recovery journey deliver our mental health services in 6 independent hospitals. 

What do you most like about being an LT? 
I have only recently completed the accreditation to become a Licensed Trainer and it was really enjoyable. I am very lucky as I work as part of a very supportive team. I am looking forward to co-delivering with my colleague Anthony, so that I can try out my new knowledge, with support.

How does the Star benefit your work and support your service users? 
Being able to clearly demonstrate progress and change for our patients, as well as create action plans that are meaningful is greatly valued. We’ve had lots of positive feedback from both the staff and the people we support since we launched the Recovery Star  in our hospitals.  

Any top training tips? 
We have recently undergone a Certificate of Online Facilitation, which has really opened our eyes to the differences between face to face and online delivery. A tip about online delivery is that learners need to be encouraged to contribute every three to five minutes, as what worked in a classroom, will not necessarily work online. It helps keep the learner engaged which has always been the key to effective training. 

Together we are pushing for a cultural change towards openness and honesty surrounding mental health and that can only be a boost for everyone. Thanks for reading.

 

****

The Recovery Star is the Outcomes Star for mental health and well-being. Other Stars developed specifically for use with organisations working in the mental health sector include: My Mind Star (for use with young people) as well as the Recovery Star Secure, Preparation Star and the Parent and Baby Star. Stars developed with other sectors also include an area focussing on mental health.

For more information on how to become a Licensed Trainer and/or the other training needed for using the Outcomes Star, or for any information about how the Stars could support your organisation please contact Triangle.

CPD Session: The Outcomes Star™ and the Care Act 2014

In this session, Implementation Lead Rox Faulks will discuss how the Outcomes Stars supports alignment with the requirements of the Care Act 2014 concerning Well-being assessment and outcomes planning. This briefing will help you decide if the session will be of value to you.

Licensed Trainer CPD Session Tuesday 12th October 2021. 2 pm – 3 pm GMT

Briefing: The Outcomes Star™ and the Care Act 2014 with Outcomes Star Implementation Lead Rox Faulks

To sign up for this session, Register here

Does the Care Act 2014 apply to you?

The Care Act 2014 (the Act) is UK Legislation; however, due to Social Care being a devolved matter in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales, the Act generally* only applies in England. With this in mind: If your Outcomes Star Licensed Trainer role does not relate to service provision or commissioning within England, then this session will not be directly relevant to you.

 

What is the Care Act 2014?

The Act came into effect in April 2015, supported by the Care and Support (Assessment) Regulations 2014. It is primarily for adults in need of care and support and their adult carers.**

 

The Care Act 2014 created a primary statutory responsibility on Local Authorities to promote individual Well-being and put people at the centre of their care and support. The Act defines well-being under nine areas and sets out 10 Wellbeing Eligibility Outcomes against which the Local Authority must assess need and apply the National Eligibility Criteria. It is to this core element of the Act that this CPD session relates.  The Act’s scope also includes Safeguarding Adults arrangements, the provision of Information and Advice to citizens, Commissioning for sustainability and diversity of the Care & Support market and integrative partnership working.

 

Is this session relevant to me and those I train?

This session will be of relevance to you if you or your Licensed Outcomes Star Practitioners that are

  • Connected to the Local Authority arrangements for the assessment of care and support needs of Adults or Carers (in England) against the Wellbeing Outcomes and the Eligibility Criteria of the Act
  • Or connected to the review of those care and support needs
  • Or expected to report on your provision’s impact outcomes directly correlating to the Wellbeing Outcomes and the Eligibility Criteria of the Act. More broadly, this session may be of value to you if you or your Licensed Outcomes Star Practitioners are.
  • Working with people who may have care and support needs that require assessment by the Local Authority under the Care Act 2014.
    • For example, you/your Licensed Star Practitioners support service users (adults or carers) within your services who you sometimes help to access an assessment of needs, intending to get more help and support in place for them. Perhaps by making a referral to the Local Authority or being present at assessments of need or reviews.

 

How will this session be of value to me?

This session will allow you to build confidence, ideas and understanding about

  • how the Outcomes Stars reflect the principles and values of the Care Act
  • how Outcomes Star outcome areas can map to the Wellbeing Outcomes and Eligibility Criteria of the Act
  • how your use of the Outcomes Star can integrate with your Care Act assessment and review processes
  • how your use of the Outcomes Star enables your Licensed Outcomes Star Practitioners to be objective advocates when referring for or supporting within, assessment of needs under the Care Act 2014. As with all our Licensed Trainer CPD sessions
  • you will have an opportunity to connect with others who have a shared interest in this topic area
  • the session will fuel ongoing conversation between us about how we can support you in this topic area moving forwards through information, resources and networking.

Ready to sign up for this session?

Register here

****

Links to more information:

SCIE have recently updated their information and resources on the Act at www.scie.org.uk/care-act-2014. Watch their short introduction video here: https://youtu.be/l-yeoMMKIto

The Local Government Association website has a wealth of articles and resources at https://www.local.gov.uk/search/all/care%2Bact, including a guidance document precisely for Providers, which you can view here Guidance_on_the_impact_of_the_Care_Act.pdf (local.gov.uk)

*You can find out more about the UK Territorial extent and application at Care Act 2014 – Explanatory Notes (legislation.gov.uk)

** “The Care Act is mainly for adults in need of care and support, and their adult carers. There are some provisions for the transition of children in need of care and support, parent carers of children in need of care and support, and young carers. However, the main provisions for these groups (before transition) are in the Children and Families Act 2014.”
https://www.carersuk.org/help-and-advice/practical-support/getting-care-and-support/care-act-faq

Implementing the Outcomes Star: my path to Triangle

Headshot photograph of Helen Bacon

Implementation Lead Helen Bacon reflects on her experiences to date, and how her career path has led her to Triangle.

I vowed I would one day work for Triangle since I first discovered the Outcomes Star in 2009. I’d rooted this milestone on my career path while working for a consortium and helping the voluntary sector prepare for the NHS Personalisation Agenda. The Outcomes Star was the answer to our question “How do we evidence change and demonstrate we are working in a person-centered way?”

It has taken me 12 years to get here, and after 12 weeks it felt like home!  The team is exactly as I imagined they would be – knowledgeable, passionate, and generous with their time in supporting frontline staff using the Outcomes Stars, as well as each other, helping me feel included early on. 

My path to Triangle has provided me with a wealth of knowledge across criminal justice, social care and community mental health to bring to this brilliant team, and an understanding of how to implement the Outcomes Star from the experiences I’ve had along the way.

My path to Triangle

In the 90s my forward-thinking secondary school trained us young volunteers to set up our own bully-line listening service, which helped develop my empathy skills.  A solicitor once excused me from lessons post work-experience because I engaged well with a victim of domestic abuse; I gained resilience from supporting her through the traumatic court case. At 17 I was given permission for work experience in a unit for people with long and enduring mental health issues; this experience shaped my view of the world. I learned early on that life is complicated and the way to help someone depends as much on the person rather than the perceived problem.

Working in an approved premises at 20 taught me clear boundaries, compassion and fairness keep you safe.  After the first 6 people I supported left in a police car, I realised there was no place for my ego – to succeed in adversity you need self-efficacy.  My (incredible) manager at the time explained “If you have done your job well don’t expect thanks.  You have empowered someone to know that it’s their choice, their life, and their achievement.  That is your reward, watching them leave believing in themselves”

I set up a mentoring service to help steer people away from offending.  The partnership between mentees and volunteer mentors changed lives.  A diversity of mentors from bankers, vets, refugees and ex-offenders provided a commonality – they were themselves.  They gave their time freely, showing genuine positive regard to listen to someone’s life story.   If only I had the Outcomes Star then, I could have shown it more tangibly.

It was when I delivered cognitive behaviour group work programmes I really understood the value of motivational interviewing as a practice.  This is where my passion for the cycle of change ignited and how important it was to match the intervention to where someone was on their Journey of Change.

Over the last decade I have worked in the voluntary sector, in service user engagement and quality assurance across a variety of services in regulated and unregulated environments. Implementing Outcomes Stars across such a range of settings and client groups has enabled me to gauge collaboration and interpret the findings with teams, using that information to identify and address gaps in service delivery.  It has also helped me to understand when the Outcomes Stars are not the right tools for a service.  

Using Outcomes stars throughout my career has enabled me to hear the client’s voice in their own support, providing opportunities for workers to build the inner wealth of their service users by positive affirmation of distance travelled.

A terminally ill patient once told me “Work is part of your life, not your whole life.  Make it worthwhile and get the balance right”.  With this ringing in my ears, I know this is exactly where I want to be –using my experience to support organisations to implement Outcomes Stars well. I’m building relationships to understand what organisations are passionate about and what they want to achieve from implementing the Outcomes Stars. 

I feel very privileged to work for Triangle now, where the ethos resonates precisely with my core values.   

*****

Helen Bacon is

For more information on Triangle, our mission, vision and the people who help to make the Outcomes Star please visit our About Triangle section. 

More client sessions: Introduction to Star Online reporting and basic features for practitioners

Want to know how to create charts, and data driven reports to support funding and measure your impact? Or are you new to the Star Online system and would you like to have a quick run through of the system?

What will the sessions cover?

The reporting session is a quick demonstration of the reporting dashboard and capabilitiees of the Star Online – the session will also give participants a quick introduction on key functions, filters and how to create charts to support reports, funding bids, and clearly illustrate progress made by service users and also how the Stars are being used across the service.

The Practitioners Guide session is an introductory orientation session for all new Star Online users and is a more indepth demonstration of the system, key features and best practice.

Who is it for?

The reporting session is designed to support managers and other staff who use the Star Online. The practitioners session is suitable for all practitioners, managers or other staff who will need to use the Star Online system, or those who are already using it but would like a refresher.

When is it?

Practitioners guide

Tuesday 21st September 2021 @ 10:00, register in advance here: https://us06web.zoom.us/webinar/register/7016305812914/WN_CvWwVy1bSZ2MIWO6unV9YA

Wednesday 3rd November 2021 @ 14:00, register in advance here: https://us06web.zoom.us/webinar/register/3316305814954/WN_Hu4mVflBTqap8-yDLmEOIw

 

Reporting on the Star Online demo

Tuesday 14th September 2021 @ 10:00.  Register in advance here: https://us06web.zoom.us/webinar/register/6516293703058/WN_HJ_MGmVbRZa0QkghHWLdeg

Monday 25th October 2021 @ 14:00. Register in advance here: https://us06web.zoom.us/webinar/register/5616305814118/WN_whe5AoHOQfShPackKuKBoQ

 

Need to know more?

Contact us or your Implementation Lead for more information.