The Missing Middle Way: How Management by Results can help us not just measure, but also improve outcomes

Joy MacKeith argues that Payment by Results can cause as many problems as it addresses.  Management by Results, which supports ongoing learning and collaboration, is the missing middle way between ignoring outcomes on the one hand, and linking them to financial incentives on the other.

In early September I was privileged to participate in the fifth Social Outcomes Conference, organised by the Government Outcomes Lab at Oxford University. Contributions from both academics and practitioners from all over the world made for a very rich debate in which everyone had their eye on the prize of improving social outcomes.

The debate got me thinking about the limitations of Payment by Results and an alternative – an approach I am calling Management by Results.  This blogpost explains the difference between the two and how Management by Results has the potential to unlock performance improvement.

Why I am a fan of an outcomes approach

In the old days we didn’t measure outcomes.  We counted inputs and outputs.  We collected case studies.  Occasionally we commissioned evaluations or user surveys.  Then came the outcomes revolution.  I have been part of that revolution, spending much of the last 20 years helping organisations to measure their outcomes.

I am a fan because I have seen that defining, measuring, and managing outcomes enables service providers to create services with a clarity of purpose, identify issues and gaps, and ultimately improve what they deliver for service users. It undoubtedly is a good thing for organisations to focus on outcomes.

But what happens when financial imperatives are introduced into the equation?  What happens when a project or organisation’s survival becomes dependent on evidencing that they have achieved certain outcomes?

Why I’m wary of linking outcomes with financial incentives

In the employment sector where Payment by Results (PbR) has been in operation for some time the consequences are quite well documented (Hudson., Phillips, Ray, Vegeris & Davidson, 2010[1]).  Organisations can be incentivised to focus narrowly on the specific targets which are linked to payment and ignore everything else.

This can lead to a narrowing of their work with individuals (just making sure they get a job rather than working on longer-term issues such as addiction or mental health problems that are likely to impact on their ability to keep the job for example).  It can lead to short-termism with less focus on long-term impact and sustainability.  It can lead to ‘cherry picking’ of clients who are most likely to achieve the target (also called ‘creaming’) and not ‘wasting resources’ on those who are not likely to achieve the target within the timescale of the project (also known as ‘parking’).

The fact that there are widely used terms for these kinds of gaming practices reflects the fact that these perverse incentives are widely recognised and understood. In the financial sector Goodhart’s Law[1] that any financial indicator that is chosen by government as a means of regulation becomes unreliable is well accepted. In the words of the anthropologist Marilyn Strathern “When a measure becomes a target, it ceases to be a good measure”.[2]

In addition to this, there are other more subtle but nevertheless powerful impacts.  In Triangle’s work helping organisations to measure their outcomes we have seen time and again that when the impetus for this measurement is commissioner requirement, the organisation is likely to see outcomes as something that is done for the commissioner rather than something they own.

The result is that the quality of the data collected is poorer and the service provider just passes it on to the commissioner rather than mining this outcomes gold for learning and service development.  This is very unfortunate because sending outcomes information to commissioners doesn’t improve outcomes, whereas using it to better understand delivery does.

Another impact of PbR is that it focuses attention on the work of the service provider in isolation as opposed to looking at how the service delivery system as a whole is working. In practice often it is the network of service provision that achieves the outcome rather than a single provider.

Finally, in the market for social outcomes, providers find themselves in competitive rather than collaborative relationships, which can make system-wide cooperation and information sharing more difficult.

The missing middle way
There were several speakers at the recent GoLab conference who argued that financial incentives can work – if they are done well.  I am writing primarily from personal experience rather than extensive research and I trust that what they say is true.  I am also aware myself of PbR contracts and Social Impact Bonds that have been sensitively implemented with all parties understanding the risks and the funding mechanisms carefully designed to build the right incentives.

My concern is that too often the approach isn’t done well and also that the alternative of MbR is not recognised and considered.  In our enthusiasm to embrace outcomes we have gone from one extreme of not talking about or measuring outcomes at all, to the other extreme of linking payment to outcomes.  Between these two poles there is a middle ground – a third way which can unlock the potential of outcome measurement without so many of the downsides.

So what does Management by Results look like and how is it different from Payment by Results?

The Management by Results mindset
Both MbR and PbR involve identifying and measuring outcomes.  But in MbR the emphasis is on the service provider using this information in the management of the service to identify strengths, weaknesses and issues to be addressed.  Whereas in PbR the emphasis for the service provider is on using the information to secure the funding the organisation needs to survive.

For commissioners MbR means requiring the service provider to measure their outcomes and then drawing on that information to assess their performance.  But crucially in MbR the commissioner draws on other information as well and has room for judgement.  PbR is black and white.  Target achieved = good, payment made. Target not achieved = bad, no payment made.

MbR allows for greater subtlety and a more rounded assessment.  The commissioner looks at the data, but they also look at the organisation’s narrative about the data.  Is it a coherent narrative? Are they learning from their data and using the lessons to improve service delivery?  What do others say about the service?  What do you see if you visit and what do service users have to say?

The commissioner draws on all this information to make their assessment.  Of course, life would be a lot easier if you didn’t have to do this and could reduce a project’s effectiveness to a few numbers.

But you can’t.

There is always a wider picture, for example in the employment sector, what is happening in the service user’s personal life, what is happening in the local economy, what other services  the person is receiving and what impact are they are having. The numbers have a part to play but they are never the whole answer.

How Management by Results changes the questions and supports learning
An organisation that is managing by results will take a systematic approach to collecting and analysing outcomes data and will then use that data for learning and accountability.  The job of the manager is to ask: “Why did this work – what good practice can we share?”  and “Why didn’t this work, what do we need to change and where can we learn from others?”

The job of the commissioner or investor is to assess “Is this organisation taking a sensible and systematic approach to measuring its outcomes? And is it learning from its measurement and continually changing and improving what it does?” PbR encourages hiding of poor results and exaggeration of positive results as well as the creaming and parking described above.  This positively hinders learning and obscures what is really happening.

MbR encourages collaboration between service provider and commissioner in identifying and achieving their shared goals.  PbR obscures these shared interests by incentivising service delivery organisations to prioritise their own survival.

The table below summarises the differences:

Payment by ResultsManagement by Results
A black and white approach.  Achieving the target is assumed to equate to successRecognises the complexity of service delivery and that success must be interpreted in context
Payment is linked to achievement of targets.  There is no room for skilled judgement or for considering wider contextual informationOutcomes information is placed in a wider context.  There is room for skilled judgement
Obscures the shared goals of commissioner and service provider and encourages service providers to focus on organisational survivalEmphasises the shared goals of service provider and commissioner and encourages the provider to focus on achieving intended outcomes
Encourages a gaming culture because service providers are assessed on whether they have met the targetBecause service providers are assessed on whether they are using outcome measurement to address issues and improve services it encourages a learning culture
Service providers are incentivised to withhold information from commissioners and even falsify dataService providers are incentivised to share information and learning with commissioners and problem solve together for the benefit of clients

Management by results is not easy but it is worth the effort

Management by Results is not easy.  At Triangle we support organisations to implement the Outcomes Star and in practice this means that we are supporting them to build a MbR approach.  This involves forging new habits, behaviours and organisational processes, creating new interdepartmental links, new reports and new software.

It isn’t easy and it takes time, even for the most willing and able.  But we also see the benefits for those that stick with it – managers with a much better handle on what is happening in their services, who can pinpoint and address issues and share good practice as well as evidence achievements.

I believe that if the sector put more energy, funding and research into supporting organisations to manage by results, it would really start to unlock the potential to not only measure, but also improve outcomes.

What do you think?

[1]Hudson, M., Phillips, J., Ray, K., Vegeris, S., & Davidson, R. (2010). The influence of outcome-based contracting on Provider-led Pathways to Work (Vol. 638). Department for Work and Pensions.

[2] Goodhart, C.A.E. (1975). “Problems of Monetary Management: The U.K. Experience”. Papers in Monetary Economics (Reserve Bank of Australia

[3] http://www.atm.damtp.cam.ac.uk/mcintyre/papers/LHCE/goodhart.html

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Triangle is the social enterprise behind the Outcomes Star™. Triangle exists to help service providers transform lives by creating engaging tools and promoting enabling approaches. To talk to Joy MacKeith or another member of the Triangle team, or for any other information, please email info@triangleconsulting.co.uk.

A Society in which everyone is able to thrive

Triangle Director Joy MacKeith reflects on the Social Value Matters 2020 international conference which took place last week and how it helped locate Triangle’s work in a wider movement for a fairer world.

The Social Value Matters 2020 conference was a truly immersive event.  The organisers took the opportunity of moving the event online to create a 24-hour programme so there was something for everyone, in every time zone, at every possible hour of the day.  

The result was a somewhat overwhelming amount of content but also a tremendous sense of being part of an international community looking for ways to measure things that really matter from environmental impact to worker’s rights to social inclusion.  And importantly looking for ways to make sure these things are not only valued but drive decision-making as well.

What was most interesting and encouraging for me was hearing the way that diverse agendas seem to be converging. 

Philanthropic organisations are more interested in systems change – understanding the underlying dynamics which keep the problems they are trying to address in place.  Corporations are going beyond the traditional domain of corporate social responsibility to engage with wider issues such as inequality. 

Governments are providing incentives to business owners to transfer ownership to their employees. Third sector organisations are using the language and practices of the market to express their achievements in terms that are engaging to governments and investors.  It seems that it is becoming easier, at least for some, to talk across sectoral boundaries. 

The wider vision that underpinned many of the contributions was the idea that if companies can be required to report on their environmental and social impact and demonstrate ethical governance (the ‘ESG’ agenda) then capitalism can start to serve the many and not just the few.

It seems that a growing number of investors want this and that many of the challenges are now technical – finding common metrics and benchmarks to allow comparability.  Jeremy Nicolls, one of the founders of Social Value International, urged everyone to be pragmatic and make it happen rather than spend time in pursuit of an impossible perfection.  There was a real sense of the possibility of change, and of the urgency too.

It all seemed a far cry from our Triangle world of supporting better conversations, enabling personal change and giving managers tools for service learning and development.  However, it was good to put our mission of helping service providers transform lives into a wider global context.  Triangle’s vision is a society in which everyone is able to thrive.  Every contributor at the event was, in one way or another, addressing that cause.  I hope that we can all find our place in the bigger picture so that we can play as full a part as possible in achieving this vision.

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Triangle is the social enterprise behind the Outcomes Star™. Triangle exists to help service providers transform lives by creating engaging tools and promoting enabling approaches. Through the Outcomes Star, they work with services to promote and measure individual change and to enable learning at an individual, service, organisation and sector-wide levels. The Outcomes Star™ is an evidence-based management tool for both supporting and measuring change. For more information email info@triangleconsulting.co.uk.

November Webinar dates

November dates for our existing clients free webinar series: covering How to use the Star Online (A Practitioners Guide) and An introduction to Star Online reports dashboards live webinars via Zoom.

Triangle has been hosting webinars, for existing clients, over the last few months who are currently using the new Star Online or who would like an introduction to the new Star Online system. Clients will be emailed details of dates and links to book through. Otherwise, if you are an existing client that has already been migrated to the new Star Online then you can find details and book through the help section of Star Online.

If you are based in Australia or New Zealand, you will need to register through Unique Outcomes outcomestar.com.au

How to use Star Online (Practitioners Guide)

This webinar will be an orientation session to the new Star Online and during the webinar 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.

 

An introduction to Star Online report dashboards

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

  • 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.

 

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.

The dates available are as follows:

  • Tuesday 3rd November at 10am:  How to use Star Online (Practitioners Guide)
  • Wednesday 4th November at 10am: An introduction to Star Online report dashboards
  • Monday 9th November at 10am: How to use Star Online (Practitioners Guide)
  • Tuesday 17th November at 10am: An introduction to Star Online report dashboards
  • Tuesday 17th November at 2pm : How to use Star Online (Practitioners Guide)
  • Monday 23rd November at 10am : How to use Star Online (Practitioners Guide)
  • Monday 30th November at 10am : How to use Star Online (Practitioners Guide)
  • Tuesday 1st December at 2pm: An introduction to Star Online report dashboards

For more information on the webinars, how to book, or what clients need to do, please take a look at our previous posts, or wait for your invite email. Please note: We have limited spaces available and we expect them to fill up quickly! We will be organising further webinars to meet demand.

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If you have any questions about our webinars, 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.

September newsletter round up

Our September 2020 newsletter round-up includes news on the new and improved Star Online system, as well as new and upcoming Outcomes Stars. We also share some of our new resources, case studies and blog posts, including Tyrone’s inspirational story, from service user to practitioner.

Other updates include

  • We have recently published the Little Star, a new Star for use within the Children and Families and Health sectors. This Star was developed in collaboration with the Dame Vera Lynn Children’s Charity (DVLCC) and is designed for completion by Conductors or other therapists but can also support discussion with the children’s families. The Star is intended for use by organisations  such as DVLCC who support young children with motor impairments, for example from cerebral palsy, using Conductive Education and other therapies
  • Another new Star is the Change Star. A new Outcomes Star for behaviour change in men. The Change Star is suitable for  use within the Children, Families and the Domestic Abuse sectors.
  • Coming soon: Triangle is currently finalising a new Outcomes Star for use with refugees, the Integration Star, which has been developed in collaboration with the Refugee Council and a number of Community Refugee Organisations. The Integration Star complements the Planning Star which is designed for use with unaccompanied asylum-seeking children.

Read the full newsletter here.

Contact Triangle at info@triangleconsulting.co.uk or +44(0) 20 7272 8765 for more information on our Outcomes Stars, the new Star Online and our licence and training options. Sign up for our newsletter here.

New webinar dates for September and October

Triangle has added more dates for their How to use Star Online (Practitioners Guide) and An introduction to Star Online reports dashboards live webinars via Zoom through September and October.

Triangle will be hosting webinars for existing clients, who are currently using the Star or who would like an introduction to the new Star Online system. Clients will be emailed details of dates, and how to book.

How to use Star Online (Practitioners Guide)

This webinar will be an orientation session to the new Star Online and during the webinar 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.

 

An introduction to Star Online report dashboards

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

  • 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.

 

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.

The dates available are as follows:

  • Monday 7th September at 10am: An introduction to Star Online report dashboards
  • Thursday 10th September 10am: How to use Star Online (Practitioners Guide)
  • Tuesday 15th September 10am: How to use Star Online (Practitioners Guide)
  • Tuesday 22nd September at 10am: An introduction to Star Online report dashboards
  • Wednesday 23rd September 10am: How to use Star Online (Practitioners Guide)
  • Wednesday 30th September 10am: How to use Star Online (Practitioners Guide)
  • Wednesday 7th October at 10am: An introduction to Star Online report dashboards (cancelled)
  • Wednesday 7th October at 2pm: How to use Star Online (Practitioners Guide)
  • Monday 12th October at 10am: How to use Star Online (Practitioners Guide)
  • Monday 19th October at 10am: How to use Star Online (Practitioners Guide)
  • Wednesday 21st October at 10am: An introduction to Star Online report dashboards
  • Monday 26th October at 2pm: How to use Star Online (Practitioners Guide)

If you are based in Australia or New Zealand, you will need to register with Unique Outcomes outcomestar.com.au

For more information on the webinars, how to book, or what clients need to do, please take a look at our previous posts, or wait for your invite email. Please note: We have limited spaces available and we expect them to fill up quickly! We will be organising further webinars to meet demand.

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If you have any questions about our webinars, 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.

Tyrone’s story: How the Star helped me change my life

Just before lockdown, Tyrone Stanley attended Outcomes Star training to help him in his work to reach violent criminals and gang members. For Tyrone this was coming full circle – because he knows from personal experience just how powerful the Star can be.

Photograph of Tyrone looking at the camera with a view of a city behind him“I’m a project worker for Catch22’s Violence Reduction Service in Wolverhampton. I deal with the resettlement of 18-30-year-olds, predominantly violent criminals and gang members.

But my early life was very different. There was always violence in the home when I was younger, and I started to develop anger issues when I was about 12 or 13. I got sent to prison for the first time in 2011 when I was 16 and got remanded, but didn’t really learn my lesson. I got arrested again and sentenced to two years.

That time I was more productive with my time in prison – I did every single course available to me.

Not a tick box exercise

At the start of a course from the Prince’s Trust, the tutor pulled out the Outcomes Star. She said it was something that was for me, and that was the first thing that made me think ‘oh, OK’. Obviously I was used to doing tick box exercises for different organisations, but the way she approached me for the Outcomes Star was the key element in why it was so beneficial for me.

I was really honest with my answers. I was excited about what the next Outcomes Star would reveal about my progress – it became something to be excited about rather than to be self-critical about. I put an honest reflection of me on paper, and I looked at it and looked at it. Then when I did my next Star I was logging things I was doing, feeling happy about all the good change I’d made.

I got onto an enhanced wing, I even got released on temporary licence. I got out of the bubble I was in – mainly because the Outcomes Star made me see my faults on paper. It gave me a perspective on my actual life – from the outside looking in rather than the false mirage that I’d created.

The key thing in the Outcomes Star that made me think hard was when I realised I didn’t have any long-term friends apart from one or two – they were all connected through badness. I thought about it – like, who are all my friends? Who enjoys my company? I wrote it down on paper and I thought, you know what, I’m not really any good at relationships. Certain things really resonated with me; they made me think I wasn’t the person that I wanted to be when I was a young boy.

It broke me down, man. Peeled off all the layers. Got to the root cause and started again from scratch.

Changing my life

Everything changed – my lifestyle, my circle of friends, the way I spoke. From then on I’ve never stopped working. After various jobs I started with Catch22. My job was to go out and talk to young people about the effects of knife crime and gang culture – and it really helped that I knew exactly what they were going through. Within 18 months I was promoted to my resettlement role.

Honestly, one of the key things in changing the way I thought about myself was being valued – not having people look at me like I was a dreg. I just couldn’t look people in the eye, and I knew no one wanted to look me in the eye. But when I started to do good things, all the blessings started to coming through, non-stop man, non-stop.

And I want to project that to young people. It just goes to show that anyone can change as long as you’ve got the right intervention at the right time.”

Tyrone: How I introduce the Star with service users

OK, so this is an Outcomes Star. Now I know it may seem like a way of recording data for our benefit but I can assure you that this is one of the best proven ways to track your progression. It can also be a great tool to learn things about yourself that you may not have thought about much at all. I have first-hand experience completing an Outcomes Star myself and it was the best start to my journey. By the end I was shocked and amazed at the progression. So be honest, and you will see changes by the end. This is the best way to help me to help you.”

Read Tyrone’s full story here and explore the Stars available for the sector you work in.

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My Star is the Outcomes Star for children, especially children in families that are identified as vulnerable/trouble and receiving services, or looked after by foster carers or in a children’s home.  The Young Persons Star is for young people moving to independent living and the Youth Star is for youth work, while the Justice Star is the Outcomes Star for people in the criminal justice sector.  If you have any questions on which Star to use for your sector, or if you 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.

Triangle measures what matters at GO Lab’s Social Outcomes conference

Triangle’s Co-founder and Director contributes to GO Lab’s Social Outcomes conference programme to share learning from using the Well-being Star in a large social prescribing  programme and how vital it is that measurement approaches are designed with relationship building and behaviour change in mind.

Hosted by The Government Outcomes (GO) Lab, the Social Outcomes conference brings together researchers, policymakers and practitioners working to improve social outcomes. Joy MacKeith, Triangle’s Co-founder and Director features at this year’s virtual event; she will share learning from 20 years of measuring individual outcomes to contribute to a debate about how commissioning approaches and Social Impact Bonds in particular can help or hinder the achievement of social outcomes.

Joy Said:

“When people design a Social Impact Bond or any other commissioning approach, they need to be mindful of how it will impact at the front line because that is where the real change happens. Research tells us that the quality of the engagement between workers and service users is absolutely critical to behaviour change but sometimes payment mechanisms can unintentionally impact in a negative way."

"The Outcomes Star has been designed to provide service-wide outcomes data whilst at the same time supporting that collaboration and helping people take the small steps that together add up to achieving their goals.“

Joy Mackieth

Joy is joined by Tara Case, Chief Executive of Ways to Wellness ­– a large-scale social prescribing service and the first health service in the UK (and globally) with social impact funding. Ways to Wellness, with Bridges Fund Management as investors and Newcastle Gateshead CCG as commissioners, has been using the Well-being Star since 2015 as part of the support their service provides and to capture client-reported wellbeing improvements; the Star was specified in the outcomes-based funding contract for the programme.

Tara said:

“We have found that the Well-being Star helps to open up conversations that might have been hard to broach without it.  It helps our Link Workers take a holistic approach and make links between different aspects of someone’s situation. It helps services to tailor what they do to support the person whilst also providing a standardised framework for reporting results.”

The Well-being Star was created for people living with a long-term health condition, to measure their progress in living as well as they can, and support self-management, rehabilitation and person-centred approaches. Triangle recently conducted further validation work on the Well-being Star within the Ways to Wellness service and shared their findings.

GO Lab’s Social Outcomes Conference runs 1st-4th September. Triangle is contributing to “Back to the Future? Learning from the UK”s experience with impact bonds: what should we take with us and what should we leave behind?” which takes place 15.30–17:00 (UK BST) on Tuesday, 1st September. You can register to attend free of charge via Eventbrite.

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Triangle is the social enterprise behind the Outcomes Star™. Triangle exists to help service providers transform lives by creating engaging tools and promoting enabling approaches. Through the Outcomes Star, they work with services to promote and measure individual change and to enable learning at an individual, service, organisation and sector-wide levels. The Outcomes Star™ is an evidence-based management tool for both supporting and measuring change. For more information email info@triangleconsulting.co.uk.

Ways to Wellness is a service for people in the west of Newcastle whose daily lives are affected by certain long-term health conditions. GPs and their primary care teams use social prescribing to refer patients to the service. Ways to Wellness adds to and complements the medical support that people receive, to help them feel more confident to manage their long-term conditions and make positive lifestyle choices. For more information email info@waystowellness.org.uk.

The Well-being Star and The Family Star Plus are available to all organisations with a Star licence, and full training can be given for workers and managers. For more information on the Outcomes Star, please contact us on info@triangleconsulting.co.uk or +44 (0) 207 272 8765.

Recent updates on the Well-being Star™ for adults self-managing health conditions

The Well-being Star is a holistic, person-centred, outcomes focused and strengths-based tool. It encourages people with long-term health conditions to consider a range of factors that have an impact on their quality of life.

The completed well-being Star
Figure 1

 

It was developed with DoH funding in collaboration with North East Essex PCT and can be used in a variety of settings from hospices to rehabilitation centres and social prescribing services. The Star supports and measures progress in eight areas identified by patients, health professionals and researchers as central to maximising well-being and independence when living with a long-term health condition (See Figure 1).

Service users may begin at the bottom of the Journey of Change (‘Not thinking about it’) and the aim is to progress to things the situation being ‘as good as it can be’.

We have recently conducted further validation work on the Well-being Star within Ways to Wellness, a social prescribing service using the Well-being Star.  Ways to Wellness is an innovative service for people whose daily lives are affected by certain long-term health conditions such as diabetes, epilepsy or heart disease.

Our psychometric validation presents evidence that the eight outcome areas form a coherent measure, with no repetition and good sensitivity to detecting change.  Since publishing the first version of this factsheet we have expanded the sample of link workers who have taken part in our peer-reviewed case study method for assessing how reliably workers apply the scales. The findings using the larger sample confirmed initial positive results showing good understanding of how to use the Well-being Star’s scale descriptions.

Chief Executive of Ways to Wellness, Tara Case is talking alongside our Strategic Director, Joy MacKeith, about the Well-being Star in the context of social prescribing and payment by results at the upcoming Government Outcomes Lab International Social Outcomes Conference.

Their session “Measuring what matters: an innovative outcomes tool capturing what is most important to beneficiaries” contributes towards the broader topic “Back to the Future? Learning from the UK’s experience with impact bonds: what should we take with us and what should we leave behind?” and  takes place 15.30–17:00 (UK BST) on Tuesday, 1st September. Register to attend free of charge via Eventbrite.

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Triangle is the social enterprise behind the Outcomes Star. Triangle exists to help people reach their highest potential. Through the Outcomes Star, they work with services to promote and measure individual change and to enable learning at an individual, service, organisation and sector-wide levels. The Outcomes Star is an evidence-based management tool for both supporting and measuring change. For more information email info@triangleconsulting.co.uk.

Ways to Wellness is a service for people in the west of Newcastle whose daily lives are affected by certain long-term health conditions. GPs and their primary care teams use social prescribing to refer patients to the service. Ways to Wellness adds to and complements the medical support that people receive, to help them feel more confident to manage their long-term conditions and make positive lifestyle choices. For more information email info@waystowellness.org.uk.

The Well-being Star is available to all organisations with a Star licence, and full training can be given for workers and managers. For more information on the Outcomes Star, please contact us on info@triangleconsulting.co.uk or +44 (0) 207 272 8765.

A real difference: How the Star is helping the Carers Trust prove its impact

In the increasingly competitive world of carer services, commissioners want robust outcomes data. For the Carers Trust, measuring outcomes has become crucial in its mission to improve support for unpaid carers – and the Carers Star is helping provide the evidence it needs.

Since the Care Act of 2014, local authority commissioners have had to assess carers and provide support where needed. This has given rise to bigger, multiple contracts for services helping carers – and a corresponding demand from commissioners for good outcomes measurement.Carers Star case study

 “The landscape now is that you need to demonstrate the difference that you’re making – it’s more and more competitive,” says Dr Richard McManus, insight and intelligence manager at the Carers Trust. “There’s a big difference in the way services are commissioned and ultimately how they’re delivered.”

The Carers Trust has a large network of partners, all operating in slightly different ways, so collecting and analysing robust outcomes data across the network is crucial. “The Carers Star is widely used throughout the network,” says Richard. “It’s a really useful tool, based on lots of research, evidence and testing, as well as engagement with the carers themselves.”

With nearly a third of the Carers Trust’s network partners now using the Star, Richard McManus is able to see the individual impact of particular services, but also to gather data on the collective impact across the network. It’s proving invaluable in securing bigger contracts, which the Trust bids for jointly with one or more network partners.

“Having the Carers Star is a really good way of demonstrating that we understand the needs of carers,” says Richard. “More generic charities might have less robust reporting and measurement in place. But with the Star we can show we have specialist knowledge and real expertise – and also for particular groups, like young carers, carers for people with dementia, or carers who also work.”

The Carers Trust is seeing benefits right across the network. “The network partners that use the Star really value it,” says Richard McManus. “It helps them with improving their services and transforming the way they deliver those services, based on real evidence and feedback from carers.”

“And of course, because of its robust design and methodology, it’s highly appealing to commissioners.”

For more detail about how the Star works both as a measuring tool and for carers themselves, have a look at the case study. Related blog: we also published a related blog; Carers Star makes collaboration count.

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The Carers Star is available to all organisations with a Star licence, and full training can be given for workers and managers. For more information on the Carers Star, please contact us on info@triangleconsulting.co.uk or +44 (0) 207 272 8765.

Triangle congratulates Frontline Manager of the Year 2020

Triangle announced the winner of the Frontline Manager of the Year category at The Employment Related Services Association (ERSA) Employability Awards 2020 and congratulated Julia Marcus, London Borough of Camden Council on her achievement.

Triangle sponsored the Frontline Manager of the Year award and revealed the results of this category as part of ERSA’s virtual celebration, held to honour the achievements of those working to support jobseekers in their progression in to work.

Graham Randles, Triangle’s Managing Director awarded Julia Marcus, London Borough of Camden Council as this year’s winner. The award recognises her commitment to leading a frontline team to high performance and customer achievements.

Julia has supported hundreds of residents into work in Camden, using a personal and committed style that has made demonstrable impact on the local people. Julia took that learning and developed new ways of supporting residents into good work.

Julia spoke to ERSA further to receiving her award:

 “I passionately believe that good quality employment support can be transformative. We do our best to provide accessible and relational support to residents. And by exploring a whole range of factors – including money, childcare, transport, housing and health – we’re able to get to the heart of the challenges that people face around work. I know there’s so many wonderful services out there, so I’m particularly proud that our approach has been recognised.”

Working with Camden Council, Julia developed the Somers Town Job Hub, a service that connects residents, services and employers around a shared mission to address long-term unemployment. The ‘hub model’ that Julia delivered in Somers Town has since provided a foundation for Good Work Camden, the borough’s new approach to employment support.

 

Graham Randles commented:

 “It was an honour to present Julia with her Award – albeit virtually! Through her dedication, Julia has created a unique and individual approach to involving her local community to design a service. She’s shown an outstanding commitment to supporting jobseekers in their progression into work and is a very worthy winner of this important award.”

Finalists Lorna Beaton, Fedcap Scotland and Lesley Wood, Stockton Job Centre (nominated by Triage Central) were highly commended in the Frontline Manager of the Year category.

Award winners were announced as part of a virtual celebration on Thursday 23rd July 2020. Further details about the ERSA Employability Award winners can be found on the ERSA website.

 

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For more information please email info@triangleconsulting.co.uk. Each Outcomes Star is carefully designed to support the organisations, frontline and keyworkers as well as remain accessible and user friendly for the service users that they support. Triangle have developed specific Outcomes Stars for use within the employment sector, including the Work Star and Pathway Star. Discover which Star is right for your sector.

The Employment Related Services Association (ERSA) is the representative body for the employment support sector. ERSA’s membership spans the private, voluntary, and public sectors and ranges from large multi-nationals through to small specialist charities.