Integration Star proves a hit

After a successful pilot with the Refugee Council, the Integration Star for refugees is now available for widespread use, with an introductory webinar taking place this February. What’s more, the Star is a great fit with the Home Office’s integration framework, writes Triangle’s research analyst Dr Anna Good.

Designed for refugees needing to build lives in the UK, the long-awaited Integration Star was finally published at the end of 2020. It’s been in development for two years and has undergone a rigorous pilot with the Refugee Council and refugee community organisations that collaborated in the Star’s development. And it’s proven to be a powerfully transformative tool.

Not only has the Star gone down well with refugees and with workers, but it’s also been greeted positively by the Home Office – an important factor for refugee organisations reporting to the department or seeking Home Office funding.

From the outset, the Refugee Council wanted a tool that could map onto the Home Office’s “Indicators of Integration” framework. That was on Triangle’s agenda too – as part of the development process we carry out a detailed literature review that examines the issues affecting the sector. This time the review included each of the domains in the Home Office framework.

The Integration Star

Designed for use with refugees needing support to integrate into their new country and to build a new life there.

The Home Office framework mainly focuses on end outcomes of successful integration, such as work, housing, education and social connection. Within the Integration Star, these and other outcomes form the end point of Star domains. They are  typically realised at the top of the Journey of Change (the model of change that underlies every Star). But the Star also captures important changes in acknowledgement of issues, acceptance of help and attempts to change things. This makes for a nuanced tool that maps the stages refugees go through from getting practical help to building the knowledge, skills and confidence they need to integrate into their new country.

It was important, however, that the Home Office framework did not pre-determine the shape of the Star. That was developed from the bottom up in a series of workshops and expert interviews that teased out the issues for front-line workers and for refugees. As with all Outcomes Stars, what mattered was partnership and collaboration.

The drafting of a Star is a meticulous and lengthy process – if people knew how much detail went into it they would be amazed. The Integration Star had many, many iterations, examining the structure and the content through a number of different lenses.

As research analyst at Triangle, part of my role is to check that the scales have clearly defined stages so that readings are comparable when they are done by different people. I then crunch the numbers from the pilot and check the psychometric properties of the Star to see that it’s academically sound. In addition we put a lot of thought and testing into how the Star worked for different refugee circumstances – refugees who come in on a resettlement programme, and refugees who don’t have resettlement status and typically have been in the UK for longer.

It was encouraging – though by no means a given – that the final version of the Star mapped really well onto the Home Office framework. And Home Office officials have been very positive about the Star, seeing it as a much simpler, more accessible tool for refugees.

One worker from the pilot sums up the prevailing mood: “The Integration Star is a really powerful, clear tool that can visualise a client’s support needs. I think it provokes conversations that highlight support needs that may have otherwise been missed”.

A separate version of the Star, the Planning Star was published last year for unaccompanied asylum-seeking children.

The Integration Star and the Planning Star are available to all organisations with a Star licence and training is available for workers and managers. Join our Integration Star webinar on 9th February or contact us for more information on info@triangleconsulting.co.uk or +44 (0) 207 272 8765.

****

Triangle Consulting Social Enterprise is an innovative, mission-led organisation that exists to help people reach their highest potential and live meaningful and fulfilling lives, often in the context of social disadvantage, trauma, disability or illness.

The Refugee Council works with individuals and families to make sure they can live safe, fulfilling lives in the UK after being forced to seek refuge from persecution and human rights abuses overseas.

The development of this Star was part funded by the EU Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund.

Other organisations taking part in the development of the Integration Star included: RETAS (Refugee Education Training Advice Service) Leeds, Leeds Refugee Forum, Path Yorkshire, Goodwin Development Trust, Humber Community Advice Services (H-CAS), Refugee Action Kingston, Iranian Association, Diversity Living Services, Bahar Women’s Association, Action for Community Development, West Yorkshire Somali Association, DAMASQ, Stepping Stone 4, Leeds Swahili Community.

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.

***

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.

***

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.

*****

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.

New Outcomes Stars for mental health

Introducing the new My Mind Star and a new, improved edition of the Recovery Star

My Mind Star – a much needed and timely tool for early intervention with young people

My Mind Star was developed in collaboration with managers, service users and professionals at leading UK children’s charity, Action for Children. It was also piloted by:

The results of the pilot were very positive, with 94% of young people agreeing that their complete Star was ‘a good summary of my life right now”.

94% of practitioners agreed that My Mind Star gave them a better idea of the support needs of the young people they support.

“Often young people have not been listened to or given control: completing the Star gives them space and lets them take the lead.” 

 Grainne Hart, Manager of the Choices Service, part of the My Mind Star pilot

Find out more about the My Mind Star here.

The Recovery Star (4th Edition)

This is a new and improved edition, drawing on independent research and feedback from service users, keyworkers and organisations.

The new edition retains the person-centred, strengths based approach of previous editions but with even more accessible language, incorporating trauma-informed thinking and fuller acknowledgement of the impact of external factors.

There is fuller recognition of the necessity of on-going support for enduring and severe conditions. It is backed by a report on independent research into the psychometric properties and a review of literature supporting the Journey of Change and choice of outcome areas.

Find out more about the new Recovery Star here.

Both Stars were launched at the Govconnect Mental Health 2019 Conference at the Royal Society of Medicine on 26th September.

If you have any questions about our new Stars, any queries about transitioning between the Recovery Star 3rd Edition and the new Edition, or you would just like find out more about how the Stars can support your service users, keyworkers and organisation, please contact us on info@triangleconsulting.co.uk or +44 (0) 207 272 8765.