All the news from our 10th anniversary event in London

On 14th November 2017, we marked over 10 years since the publication of the original Outcomes Star for homelessness with a free information and learning event in London, UK.

Over 100 people came together on a Tuesday morning, including new faces and people who have been instrumental to the success of the Star s0 far.  The purpose of the day was to share what Triangle have learnt from over a decade supporting frontline services to prove and improve outcomes, and to hear from people’s own learnings and experiences of the Outcomes Star – watch our short video of the morning in action:

First up, our directors, Sara and Joy, presented their thoughts and learnings, looking back to 2002 and the beginnings of the Outcomes Star, and looking ahead to what the future may hold for outcomes, impact and the Outcomes Star.  See the presentation from Joy and Sara, creators of the Outcomes Star and directors of Triangle, here.

To mark over 10 years of the Outcomes Star, we’ve pulled together some interesting facts and figures, showing the scale of Star use across the UK:

Later that morning, we heard from two representatives of organisations using the Outcomes Star in their day-to-day practice.  Claire Richardson, commissioner with the West Mercia Police and Crime Commissioner team, told us how they had worked closely with service providers to help them get the most out of the Star.  Mick Carroll, Head of Coaching at Restore, an Oxford-based mental health charity, took us through the 7 things, if you really want to implement the Star as badly and ineffectively as possible, that you absolutely must do!  You can hear both Claire and Mick, as well as Paul Richards, a Support Worker and Licensed Star Trainer from St Basils, a charity supporting young homeless people or young people at risk of homelessness in the West Midlands, tell us a bit more about their use of the Star in our short videos, here.

Lastly, before lunch, attendees were invited to join one of ten discussion tables, each focusing on different aspects of the Outcomes Star – from the Star Online web app, to action planning with the Star, sharing the Star with commissioners and specific Stars, such as the Tenancy Star and Young Person’s Star.  Feedback from the day was really positive about this format, so we’re hoping to run some more information sessions in this style in the New Year across the UK, and maybe even beyond!

Thank you to all that attended the event!  For more information about our 10 year anniversary, read our article here. If you are interested in attending an information event in the future, or have any questions about any aspect of the Outcomes Star, please contact Triangle.

 

Impact Management Programme funding available – sign up by 6 September

Triangle and the Outcomes Star are an approved Provider for the Growth Strand of the Impact Management Programme.  The programme is designed to improve how charities and social enterprises approach impact management, with the Growth strand specifically targeted at organisation who already measure some impact or outcomes data and who would like to grow and scale their impact.

Organisations can apply for funding to cover the cost of Outcomes Star training, licences and support as one part of their overall approach to impact management.

To apply for funding, organisations will need to attend a free training day, and must register for these by the 6 September 2017. More information on the Growth strand and training can be found here, with more information about the overall programme available at www.accessimpact.org.

 

Interested in collaborating with Triangle on Star research?

Triangle is looking for organisations to collaborate with on research into versions of the Outcomes Star.

We are particularly interested in carrying out psychometric analysis to evidence that the Stars are both valid and reliable measurement tools, but are open to designing the research with you and adding other research questions that are of particular interest to you.

This is an opportunity to be part of original research on the Star, contributing to the growing body of knowledge about the use of different versions of the Star and to debates surrounding outcomes measurement more generally. We will aim to write up and publish the research either as a Triangle document or in a peer reviewed journal.

In return for research collaboration, Triangle can produce a Key Findings Report for your organisation and provide an in-depth analysis of your Star data.  Linked to this, collaborators will have access to the new Scale Checker tools and support with Star implementation. 

If you are interested in collaborating with Triangle on a research project, please contact us for an initial discussion, or get in touch directly with our Research Co-ordinator, Emily Lamont – emily@triangleconsulting.co.uk.

Introducing Scale Checkers to support accurate Star data

The Outcomes Star Scale Checkers are tools developed by Triangle for organisations using the Outcomes Star, to evaluate how well members of staff understand the Journey of Change and scales for the Star they use.

They are designed to be completed by workers who use the Star, have Star licences and who have completed core Star training.  They are free to use for licensed Star users.

Assessing how well staff members understand the Journey of Change provides a key aspect of quality assurance for your Star data. Completing the Scale Checker can help keyworkers and managers to identify where further training is required, either for individuals, for particular outcome areas or for particular stages of the Journey of Change. 

The Scale Checker also allows Triangle to gather data to test the inter-rater reliability of each of the Stars. By testing the inter-rater reliability of the Stars Triangle is able to contribute to evidence showing that the Stars are reliable and valid outcomes measurement tools. 

The Scale Checker is easy and simple to use. It consists of a fictional profile of a service user relevant to a specific version of the Outcomes Star and staff members are asked to decide where the service user is on the Journey of Change for each outcome area. The answers given are then analysed by Triangle and a report is provided to the service manager. 

Currently we have Scale Checkers available for 4 versions of the Outcomes Star, with profiles in development and coming soon for all other versions:

  • “Don” for the Carers Star
  • “Pete” for the Drug & Alcohol Star
  • “Paula” for the Family Star Plus
  • “Tamsin” for the Youth Star

If you would like to use the Scale Checker in your service or have any questions, please contact us for more information.

The Outcomes Star: 10 years of innovation and learning for homelessness and housing

In 2006 the landscape in housing, health and social care looked a little different to today.  Measuring and managing outcomes was becoming a hot topic but the practice was patchy, confusing and not always with the service user in mind.  Working with St Mungo’s to develop an outcomes measuring tool that eventually became the Outcomes Star, it became clear that it provided valuable benefits over and above other measuring tools.   With support from the London Housing Foundation, we were able to unlock the ‘dual role’ of our unique methodology – a way to both support change and measure it.  A way of working that meets the demands for data and monitoring whilst enhancing (rather than compromising) the service user and keyworker experience.  A tool that understands the complexity of personal, sustainable individual change and provides a simple, engaging and consistent framework.

And over 10 years later, we can look back over our journey with the Outcomes Star and reflect on how popular that combination has proved to be.  Our work with the Mental Health Providers Forum began in 2008, translating the methodology we had established in the homelessness sector into the field of mental health, illness and recovery.   Since then we have responded to demand from many different sectors, and we now have over 30 different versions of the Outcomes Star, co-created with services and service users, with more in development as we speak.   Today the Star is used by thousands of organisations in the UK and across the world, with over 500,000 completed Stars for over 300,000 service users submitted on the Star Online web application for the Outcomes Star.


Our journey with the Star has been, and always will be, an ongoing action research project, learning what works and what doesn’t over time and using that learning to continuously improve and develop.  One key learning has been just how important it is to make sure the Outcomes Star is used well and as it is designed to be used.

We learnt fairly early on that although the Star looks like a simple and intuitive tool, being trained to understand the values behind it and how to use it properly is vital.  Without training, the Journey of Change, the User Guides and the detailed descriptions of the scales (the numbers on the Star) can too often be put to one side, and the method of completing Stars collaboratively with service users to get co-reported readings can be ignored. Unfortunately, using the Star in this way undermines the meaningfulness of the data, and the benefits for keywork and the service user.

To reduce the likelihood of the Star being co-opted into bad practice, we have moved away from our original approach of making the Stars available to download for free.  Since 2013 organisations have had to use the Star under licence and with training for all members of staff using the tool – our records show over 26,500 individual licensed and trained workers using the Star today.  The income from this approach allows us to invest in providing hands-on support to services to use the Star well, for example by integrating the Star into keywork relationships and processes and ensuring the empowerment of service users is at the heart of Star practice.

For example, one project our team are supporting to use the Star is Voices, licensed Star users and an innovative partnership supporting adults with complex needs in Stoke-on-Trent as part of the Fulfilling Lives programme.  For Voices and the people they work with, the Star’s focus on engagement, choices and actions is more useful than a tool that purely measure the severity of problems. Because the Journey of Change breaks down complex, personal change into small steps, it helps them to put the spotlight on the positive shifts and incremental progress that can often be overlooked.  Being able to identify and celebrate the small steps that really do make a difference in people’s complex lives is seen as a key benefit of the Star for Voices – helping to counter-act any reliance on unrealistic expectations which can have a detrimental, demotivating effect.


In addition to people using the Star well, we have also learnt how important it is that people understand how Stars are created, and the depth of knowledge, research, articulation, iteration and piloting that each Star goes through for at least a year before publication.   This is why we take a sector-wide approach – it allows us to make evidence-based, high quality, effective outcomes practice accessible to many, reducing the need for people to re-invent the wheel.  A sector-wide tool will not work for everyone, but for frontline services providing holistic keywork, using the Star can be an invaluable way to embed outcomes practice in everyday work and to improve outcomes for service users.

Because the Star is widely used across the sector, services like Voices can benefit from easier communication, with the Star helping people from different agencies and roles to be on the same page, as well as with the sharing of completed Stars reducing the likelihood of service users being asked to repeat their story all over again when accessing different services.  Although Voices have found that some practitioners may have had negative experiences of the Star as a pure performance management tool, investing in their training offer for the Star with internal Licensed Star Trainers has helped. It has equipped them with a deeper understanding of the theory and values behind the Star so that they can build this into their training and induction processes.


As we look ahead to the next 10 years and beyond, we want to make sure Triangle and the Outcomes Star continue to work alongside more services like Voices who support vulnerable people, and help them to survive and thrive in the challenging environments ahead, in the UK and across the world.  Continuing our action learning approach, in May we published the new Tenancy Star, developed in collaboration with Loretto Care and designed to apply all the learning from the Homelessness Star into a lighter-touch tool for housing associations in managing sustainable tenancies.  Through our social enterprise model, we plan to invest in the evidence underpinning the validity of the Star, in developing new tools for effective, outcomes-driven services and in becoming even more of a pro-active partner for organisations using the Star.

If you would like any further information about Triangle or the Outcomes Star, please visit our website www.outcomesstar.org.uk, email us on info@triangleconsulting.co.uk or call us on +44(0)207 272 8765.

Thanks to Bruno Ornleas and Diane Rankin from Voices for their contribution to this article.  See www.voicesofstoke.org.uk for more information about they work they do.

 

Free Outcomes Star event

Triangle are running a free event for the housing and homelessness sector on 14th November in London – “The Outcomes Star for homelessness and housing: 10 years on”.  Register your interest and find out more here.

Apply to Access’ Impact Management programme

Triangle were recently confirmed as registered Providers for the Impact Management Programe launched by Access, the Foundation for Social Investment.

The Impact Management Programme aims to build the capacity of charities and social enterprises to manage their impact.  It includes training, peer to peer support, expert advice and grant-funding for Impact Management projects.

As registered Providers for the ‘Growth’ strand of work, Triangle will be supporting organisations to develop grant-funding bids and provide funded programmes built around the Outcomes Star as part of a wider approach to Impact Management.

Full information about the programme including how to apply for grant-funding can be found here http://accessimpact.org/.

Seasonal news from Triangle

December 2016 marks 10 years since publication of the original Outcomes Star for the homelessness sector. We never imagined that 10 years later there would be 30 Stars and 30 people working with Triangle in the UK, with Stars used in more than a dozen countries worldwide and translations including Finnish, Italian and Chinese. Triangle has needed to learn and develop rapidly to respond.

2016 main highlights:

  • Publication of the Independence Star for the armed forces community and Justice Star for the criminal justice sector
  • An easier to use update of our Training Manual for 300+ active Licensed Trainers
  • Unique Outcomes joined as our new service provider in Australia
  • New courses and options and training in a farmyard, dance studio, racecourse, castle plus some less glamorous locations!
  • Star data analysis with new advanced reports to better evidence change and reveal more meaningful insights
  • After a rigorous process, the Justice Star was approved by NOMS – the UK government National Offender Management Service – for use by one of the collaborators.

A few snippets we’re pleased about:

  • The Star was mentioned in the House of Lords
  • We have agreed 3 year deals with a number of significant clients to really embed various Stars – contact us about longer term deals
  • Several clients successfully embedded the Family Star Plus into Early Help Assessments
  • We have an agreement with Corelogic to include the Star in Mosaic and are working with other big software providers
  • Up to October 2016, over 525,000 Stars have been submitted on our Star Online web application
  • We’ve trained 8 new Licensed Trainers in our most northerly UK venue so far…Stornaway (Isle of Lewis)

Internally in 2016:

  • We grew by a few more people, and can now really help people implement the Star well, think creatively about new challenges and welcome new interest in the Stars
  • We took a deep breath and made the move to a proper client management system, thereby reducing detective work and responding better to people getting in touch
  • We updated the Star licences options – keeping prices the same and starting to simplify our communications

2017 main highlights:

  • An unprecedented number of new Stars under development – we still find the process fascinating and meaningful. In spring 2017 we will publish the Tenancy Star for vulnerable tenants in housing associations. Others include a version for supporting people to have often difficult conversations about death and priorities towards the end of life
  • A new, easier to use website for the Outcomes Star and Triangle. Good design is key to making the Stars clear and accessible while modelling complex change and we are enjoying learning more about the importance and impact of design
  • A review of the Star Online – we may be in touch for your views and have a number of improvements already planned
  • Further guidance on using Star data for learning and evidencing outcomes, working closely with organisations interested in more in-depth analysis
  • Telling people about the Stars – only around half the 30 Stars are known and widely used so in 2017 we will find ways to let people know about the others.

Supporting organisations to use the Star well will continue to be the bulk of our work – through our client services team, implementation managers, Star trainers, international collaborators and through developing new tools and products to respond to needs and opportunities as they emerge.

And, with the end of 2016 marking the 10-year anniversary of the Outcomes Star, we’re hoping to celebrate and share the story of the Star throughout 2017 – watch this space!

We would like to send festive wishes to the many thousands of services, keyworkers and service users who use the Outcomes Star every day. If you’d like more information about any aspect of our work past, present or future then please contact us.

Outcomes Star highlighted to House of Lords Committee

The Outcomes Star has been highlighted to the House of Lords Select Committee on Charities as a simple and beneficiary-focused way for small and medium charities to measure and support change.

Last week, Paul Streets, CEO of Lloyds Bank Foundation, gave evidence to the House of Lords Select Committee on Charities around the charity sector’s approach to impact and evidence.   Having highlighted that too often, charities are driven to performing around what’s in a contract rather than what matters for the beneficiaries, he went to explain that the Outcomes Star is one way in which they support specifically smaller charities to overcome this, and to measure and support the work they do:

“I believe that funders, government and ourselves, should support organisations to do this (evaluation).  For example, a very simple measure is something like the Outcomes Star, which is beneficiary focused, it can create a conversation between the client and the charity, and the data it gathers can be aggregated up (for funders).”

You can watch the full Select Committee session here – the Outcomes Star gets its first mention around the 16.08.30 mark: https://goo.gl/k2zTKj

Triangle have been working with Lloyds Bank Foundation since 2015 and provide Enhance support to charities funded by the Enable and Invest Programmes, including Star training, licences and implementation support. So far we have supported 30 small and medium charities to use the Star, helping them to embed an outcomes-driven way of working into their services as well as capture outcomes data for the beneficiaries they support.

If you are a funder and would like more information about how the Star can be incorporated into your programmes, please get in touch with us for an informal chat about how we can help.

If you are a small charity and you would like to use the Outcomes Star in your service, contact us for more information about how we can make the Star as accessible as possible for you.

For details of the Lloyds Bank Foundation’s programmes including the Outcomes Star as part of the Enhance programme, please visit their website: https://www.lloydsbankfoundation.org.uk/our-programmes/.

Developing a new Star for supporting sustainable tenancies

Today, our collaborators Loretto Care launch their pilot programme, testing out the new, draft Tenancy Star with young people.  The pilot will be led by their expert staff and will gather feedback on the new tool directly from young people who are living in social housing or in private rented accommodation, and who may need additional support and/or be at risk of losing their tenancy.

The Tenancy Star is being co-produced with Loretto, with development beginning in June 2016 and publication planned for early 2017.

For more information about Loretto please visit their website www.lorettoha.co.uk

For more information about developing new Stars in collaboration with us at Triangle, please see ‘Developing new versions’ on our website or contact us on info@triangleconsulting.co.uk or 0207 272 8765.

Loretto Care are today launching the pilot of the Tenancy Star with young people – a new version of the Outcomes Star being co-produced by Triangle with Loretto Care and the young people they support

Changes to the way you can access the Outcomes Star – launched today!

A few weeks ago we announced some changes we were making to the way people can access the Outcomes Star.  For the full information, you can read that email here.

These changes go live today:

 

  • Updated account fees for all licence types, but without any increase in prices for existing clients
  • New access to full Star materials via the Star Online’s web portal for all licence holders
  • New resources for Licensed Star Users, including licence-stamped Star materials and a Licensed Star User certificate and logo for display
  • Some changes to training prices in the UK

 

We’ve also made some significant improvements to our systems and processes behind the scenes to help us support our clients to make the most of the Star for their services and the people they support.

If you’re an existing Star user your organisation should have already received any relevant information that you need to know about what these changes mean for you.

If you haven’t received this information, or if you have any queries at all about these changes or any aspect of the Outcomes Star, please get in touch with us using our contact us form, via email on info@triangleconsulting.co.uk or on +44(0) 207 272 8765.