New ‘How to’ guide explains how the Outcomes Star can turn Human Learning Systems principles into practice

Since the publication of our Enabling Help report last year, we have been working with Toby Lowe and colleagues at the Centre for Public Impact to articulate how the Outcomes Star can operationalise learning as a management strategy and other core components of the Human Learning Systems (HLS) paradigm.

Both HLS and Enabling help focus on moving on from the failings of New Public Management towards an alternative vision of supporting ‘human freedom and flourishing’ through creating flexible, relational, compassionate service delivery systems in which the role of measuring is to support learning for individuals, organisations and places.

The Star as a tool for turning HLS and Enabling Help principles into practice

We are delighted that the Star is one of the tools identified in the Centre for Public Impact’s recently launched guide: Human Learning Systems: A practical guide for the curious, commissioned by Healthcare Improvement Scotland and Iriss.  

 The guide highlights three different ways that the Outcomes Star can be used to put the principles of Human Learning Systems into practice:

  • Person level: the Star empowers people to take an overview of where they are, understand their life as a system, choose their goals and work out the next steps to achieve them
  • Organisation/place level: the Star enables meaningful purpose-aligned reflection and learning about what is and isn’t working within services, in order to better support those they serve
  • Connected learning cycles: the Star offers a way of collective sense-making between different actors within or across organisations, for example within a multidisciplinary team supporting an individual, or between commissioners and service providers

Read the Outcomes Star case studies included within the guide. 

The synergy between the Star and human learning systems

HLS started as an analysis of the problems within traditional approaches to public service management.  It has gone on to articulate an alternative framework and then look for practical ways of bringing that vision to life. 

The Outcomes Star, in contrast, started as a practical tool for service providers to evidence that they are making a difference in a way that really reflects and supports what they do. From there we articulated the vision of service delivery and public management that was implicit in the tool in our Enabling Help report. 

The convergence of these approaches, despite their different starting points, speaks volumes.  The time has come for this shift in thinking and practice.  We look forward to furthering collaboration with the HLS movement and others who share this vision.

Could your use of the Star inspire others?
Are you working with the Star as part of a wider HLS approach?
Please get in touch with our Research analyst, Dr Anna Good (anna@triangleconsulting.co.uk), as we are keen to create and publicise more case studies.  

Launched: Home Star, the new Star for homelessness and other needs

Triangle is excited to launch the new Home Star after a significant two-year review process in collaboration with service providers and people using homelessness and housing services.

Why we reviewed the Star

Much has changed in the housing sector for both people and service providers since the Star’s last revision in 2017. The environment has got tougher, and more services are shorter term. People’s needs have become more complex and there are now more women accessing support services. We were aware some areas of the Star could be improved, and we were keen to bring it up to date.

How we reviewed it

Over several years we listened to people using this Star, had meetings, a workshop and roundtable, then put out a wide call for feedback to all users we could contact. We are grateful to many people who shared suggestions and reviewed successive drafts, include those from MEAM, Crisis, Homeless Link, P3, Two Saints and PIE in the UK and Salvation Army, Ruha and Unique Outcomes in Australia.

What has changed?

The new edition – the Home Star – is a substantial improvement, in the language, scales, design and resources.

The Home Star is better suited to women and those with ongoing, complex needs. The language is more sensitive to people experiencing trauma and more explicit about housing, economic and other factors beyond someone’s control. Scales where there were issues have been revised, to include being a victim of crime and the possibility that drugs, and alcohol may be a coping strategy.

We have improved the look of the core materials and added new resources to support engagement and accessibility, including flashcards.

See our webpage for more about the Home Star. If you already use the Homelessness Star, please see our guidance document for how to switch to the new Home Star.

To learn more about the development of the Home Star, please see our Development of the Home Star report.

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Ways to Wellness: The Well-being Star within social prescribing

Ways to Wellness recently published a report we contributed to, celebrating six years of their innovative and internationally recognised social prescribing service. 

The service supports people aged 40-74 years old with specific long-term conditions, many of whom have complex medical, practical and social needs. GPs refer patients to receive support from link workers for 18 months and the Well-being Star is used to assess clients at baseline and then approximately every six months. So far, over 4,500 patients have completed two or more Well-being Star readings. 

Triangle are always keen to encourage learning from Star data and we were encouraged that Ways to Wellness recognise the value of ‘analysing impact data and using findings to inform adjustments to the service’. We supported Ways to Wellness to go beyond the outcomes measurement required by the funders, to explore in more depth the needs and progress of their clients. The Star data reports shown in their report are based on those provided by our recently upgraded web application, ‘The Star Online’.  They showed that 86% of clients moved forward in at least one outcome area, with the highest proportion progressing in ‘Your lifestyle’ – an area most frequently identified as needing work by clients.  

Ways to Wellness are a good example of an organisation that shows a commitment to getting the most out of the Well-being Star.  We have also worked with them to explore how consistent and accurate their link workers were in applying the Well-being Star scales, finding good ‘inter-rater reliability’.  

Click here for more information about the Well-being Star including a case study of the use of this version of the Star in health settings and psychometric validation. 

If you would like more information or support about the use of the Well-being Star, please get in touch with us at info@triangleconsulting.co.uk or +44 (0) 207 272 8765.