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.   

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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. 

The importance of listening

Headshot of Tom Currie against a white wall
Ahead of Samaritans Awareness Day this Saturday, 24th July, Trainer and Implementation Lead Tom Currie reflects on the power of listening and why it is so important in relationships that are committed to supporting change.

Hopefully we all know how important listening is. Really listening. Listening fully to what is being said and what is not. In relationships that are committed to supporting change listening is essential, literally, the essence of the purpose of the relationship is to listen. Yes, the listener may need to speak at some point but, when they do, what they say will be a lot more valuable if it is informed by good listening first. What they say is also much more likely to be heard when spoken to someone who has first experienced being fully heard.

In the almost 200 courses that I have led in using the Outcomes Star, listening is always talked about. Usually brought up by practitioners when talking about effective work with clients. They know how important it is to their work.

The Outcomes Star is a relational tool that supports change in keywork relationships. It helps practitioners and their clients to have better conversations. It does this by helping create a better quality of listening. There are three ways that it does this: by creating permission, by providing frameworks and by opening a space for sharing.

Creating Permission

Each Outcomes Star has between 6 and 10 points. Each point describes an Outcome Area, an aspect of life that contributes to the client fulfilling their potential. This holistic model provides a framework for the conversation between keyworker and client that helps create permission to discuss a range of aspects of life that the client may otherwise not have brought into the conversation. It also helps the keyworker build a fuller, more rounded picture of the client and their life, to go beyond the presenting issue and work to support the whole person.

A practitioner working with a Probation Trust to support prisoners through the gates and help them find accommodation told me that the wide-ranging conversations she had with her clients when discussing Outcome Areas like ‘positive use of time’ and ‘mental health and well-being’ helped her build a fuller understanding of them and their interests. This not only meant that she gained an understanding of what would be right for them but helped her, when finding them a new place to live, to present a better account of them to prospective landlords.

Providing Frameworks

All Outcomes Stars are underpinned by the Journey of Change. The Journey of Change is a model that outlines the stages people go through when making sustainable change in their lives. The attitudes and behaviour at each of the points on each scale are clearly defined. There are five different types of Journey of Change. Being able to create a shared language for where someone is and where they have not yet got to on their journey through life is a useful step in helping them get there.

I was delivering training to two women who set up a charity supporting parents of children who developed a neuro-degenerative disease that is sadly commonly fatal before the child reaches adult hood. They use the Support Stars – for use with parents, children and young people facing serious illness – which we developed in partnership with CLIC Sargent.

When supporting parents through these difficult times, they said the Journey of Change was key to helping parents make sense of what they were going through. It helped them to acknowledge the overwhelming nature of the shock of the diagnosis, to take in their new reality and begin to engage with how they might navigate the challenges they faced. As human beings we need to make sense of the experiences we face and be able to own and author the narratives of our lives – listening plays a key role in enabling us to do that.

A space for Sharing

The Journey of Change is a universal model that resonates with all the people I have shared it with and provides new insights about our own part in the challenges we face. This creates the opportunity for keyworker and client to meet on a more human level and share more honestly about their own experience, moving beyond the usual paradigms of service provider and service user to a space that is more human, more healing and more hopeful.

In my own life, taking time to reflect on where I am in my own journey through the lens of the five stage Journey of Change often provides me with new insights on ways that I am stopping my own progress, whether by not asking for support or hanging on to outdated behaviours that no longer fit with who and where I am. It helps me to listen more deeply to my own truth.

So, for all these reasons, I celebrate the Samaritans Awareness Day as a chance to champion all those who support people to change by offering the generous, supportive, curious and subtle art of listening. Let’s all listen to each other (and ourselves).

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Tom is a member of Triangle’s Training Team and provides support to our clients across London and the South East, including 18 London Boroughs, a number of County Council services and a couple of national charities. He lives near Oxford and is a trustee for Spark Inside, an organisation delivering coaching programmes in prisons, where he leads on impact and evaluation.

The Support Stars were developed for use with children and young people who are facing serious illness. The Support Star (Parents) is designed to support their families.

New demonstration dates for all clients in August

Triangle will be hosting two Zoom-based free foundation sessions for all clients wanting an introduction or refresher into the Star Online System. 

These sessions are suitable for all clients, practitioners and managers who use the Star Online system. 

Topic: How to Use Reporting Dashboards on Star Online

When: Aug 10, 2021 10:00 AM London
Register in advance for this webinar on zoom here.

This session is suitable for all clients but especially relevant for any managers or staff responsible for creating documents or reports using Outcomes Star information and data. The reporting introduction will cover three report dashboards used in implementation, snapshot and distance travelled reporting. It will also introduce participants to using the filters and thinking about engagements, using them to create instant and engaging charts that can be downloaded to add to any report or funding bid. The session will also highlight what reports can tell you about how Stars are being used in a service and the progress made by service users.

Topic: How to use Star Online (Practitioners Guide)

When: Aug 17, 2021 11:00 AM London
Register in advance for this webinar via Zoom here.

This session will give Star Online users a foundation understanding of the essential and primary tasks that practitioners frequently complete, and will aslo cover essential basics such as how to create a service user, how to add Stars and Action Plans,  the Help center and how to navigate it. Also covered is where practitioners can find and download the key Outcomes Star resources that they need to support their work. The session will also cover general orientation, important features and how to set up engagements and manage notifications.

Please note: these sessions are not a substitute for official training and will only be relevant to those who are using the Star Online.

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If you have any questions about 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.

How Carers First use the Carers Star in their work

Logo for Carers First - the words Carers First in purple on a white background
We recently caught up with Ferne Haxby – one of our Outcomes Star licensed trainers – and learned how the staff at Carers First use the Carers Star in their work.

I’ve been the Learning & Development Adviser for Carers First since 2016. My role includes ensuring the organisation is compliant by providing statutory training – GDPR and Safeguarding.  As well as championing compliance for Carers Frist, I author courses in a range of subjects that enhance the roles of the staff, source external learning providers, and arrange bespoke workplace training.

The Carers First staff team is committed to using the Outcomes Stars as part of their work; we have a large contingency who use the Carers Star.

The Carers Star is designed for use with a wide range of carers – anyone providing unpaid care for a relative or other person. It can be used by the carer whether they live with the person they care for or not. It’s primarily designed for adult carers but can be used with young carers.

The Carers Star is fundamental to the assessment of carers and allows Carers First’s staff to develop other supporting skills such as motivational interviewing, negotiating and communication as part of their roles. Using this, we can work with carers, supporting and empowering them, making their lives as best as they can be.

I am fully committed to using the Outcomes Star and after initial training it is good to see the number of staff grow in their use of it.  Refresher and reflective training is my favourite, as I facilitate sessions whereby staff are sharing experiences, knowledge and best practice together.  Each time, there is something new to learn and share between staff and this allows us to use the Star to the optimum advantage to help our carers in their journeys as carers.

What is so good is that the Star is a life tool and even though there comes a time when carers are not carers anymore, some keep on our books and check in every now and then and are still using the action plans and development tools as they live their lives. 

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The adult care sector is extremely broad, but most services in this sector focus on helping people achieve the outcomes that matter in their lives. Explore the Stars available for the Adult Care sector.

Full materials are available for organisations with a Star Licence and training for all managers and workers using the Star.

Triangle have also developed a guide for using the Carers Star and other Stars in the context of the Care Act 2014.

Free Star Online orientation session for clients this July

In July Triangle is hosting a free orientation introduction session for all clients, practitioners and managers who use the Star Online system. 

This session will be held online, and cover all the primary tasks practitioners do: including how to create a service user, how to add Stars and Action Plans,  the Help center and how to navigate it and where practitioners can find and download the key Outcomes Star resources that they need to support their work. The session will also cover general orientation, important features and how to set up engagements and manage notifications.

Please note: this session is not a substitute for official training and will only be relevant to those who are using the Star Online.

 

The session will be held online via zoom on July 6, 2021 at 10:00am (GMT+1: London). To book your place please register today. Limited spaces are available.

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If you have any questions about 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.

For more information on the sessions, how to book, or what clients need to do, please take a look at our previous posts, or find the links through the Star Online. Please note: We have limited spaces available, and we expect them to fill up quickly!

If you would like to be included in a mailing list for future webinars, demo’s or sessions, please sign up for our mailing list, and if you have suggestions or would like to request specific content and sessions on the Outcomes Star and the Star Online please email webinars@triangleconsulting.co.uk

The Integration Star and refugees – common questions and answers

People arriving at an airport

Frequently asked questions about using the Integration Star and how it can be used to support services and service users

Last October, Triangle launched the Integration Star, the Star to support refugees to integrate into life in the UK. The development of the Star has been a collaboration with the Refugee Council and the Star was piloted by the Refugee Council and their partners on the New Roots programme, in London and in Yorkshire & Humber.

In this blog, we bring together some of the frequently asked questions and draw on the expertise of Amilee Collins, National Project Worker at the Refugee Council, who shared her experience of using the Integration Star at our recent Webinar, Better conversations, Better outcomes. Amilee has 14 years experience resettling refugee families and her team offers a client-led holistic support service. She finds that the new Outcomes Star suits this approach.

What are the key benefits of using the Integration Star?

From Amilee’s perspective, one of the most important aspects of the Integration Star was that it is a visual tool that her clients could understand and engage unlike previous assessment frameworks used. The pictorial resources that accompany the Integration Star, support this engagement, even when communication is through an interpreter.

The visual snapshot that the Star provides, has also been extremely useful, as the visual communicates a client’s needs succinctly to other agencies, reducing the need for families to repeat everything to each agency involved in their support.

Another aspect of the Star that Amilee appreciates, is that the scales for each Outcome Area, based on a Journey of Change specific to the Integration Star, are clearly defined in the User guide. This helps the worker and client to identify where they are on the scale and helps them visualise next steps. Amilee feels this helps to promote some objectivity and parity between worker and client, as they use the Star together.

The Integration Star is structured around 8 Outcome areas and Amilee finds this helpful to break things down and she often completes the Star in more than one sitting. Amilee found that clients surprised themselves, as they worked around the Star; clients can become overwhelmed by the challenges they experience, but the Integration Star helped them see that they were progressing well in some areas, and this restored some confidence and self-belief and helped the client to get some perspective on the areas that were still difficult. Clients fed back that they found using the Integration Star useful and easy to understand.

Can you complete the Integration Star through an interpreter?

Amilee found that completing the Integration Star with a client via an interpreter was no different to doing any other work through an interpreter. Her top tip is to brief the interpreter beforehand and provide a Star chart and visual of the Journey of Change so that they can familiarise themselves with the concept of Outcomes Stars. Triangle has produced a leaflet for interpreters explaining the purpose of the Integration Star and explaining the Journey of Change. Amilee’s other piece of advice is to encourage the interpreter to speak in the first person; the Integration Star is about capturing the voice of the client, so she feels it is important to hear a client’s responses in the first person.

Is the Integration Star translated into other languages?

The Integration Star is not translated into other languages at the moment. The resources are very visual to support communication where the client might have limited English, or where an interpreter is being used.

Is the Integration Star a tool you use with individuals or families?

The Integration Star is designed to capture where an individual is on the Journey of Change scale and how they are navigating their new life in the UK, including supporting their children to settle. Amilee explained that she completes a Star for each adult in the family and gives them the opportunity to complete their Star one-to-one. This is really helpful to explore the different needs and strengths and perspectives of each individual.

Triangle has a range of other Stars that can be used with children and young people in the family to capture their voice.

What were the challenges of using the Star in lockdown?

Amilee was surprised how easy the Integration Star was to use remotely. Preparation is key, and Amilee always made sure, if she was going to do a Star remotely, that the client had access to Star resources. The visual of Journey of Change has been particularly helpful for clients to identify how they are feeling and then plot the relevant stage on their Star, so this usually meant printing and posting the Star Chart and Journey of Change to the client in advance of a phone or video call. Amilee used a range of platforms to talk to clients; Whatsapp, Zoom and Teams. The client usually used their phone screen for the call, so sending the client physical printed resources in advance, meant that the client didn’t have to look at the materials on the screens at the same time. Amilee would complete the Star during the call and sent a completed Star to the client.

Can the Integration Star be used with Asylum Seekers?

Triangle and the Refugee Council were open to the Integration Star working for Asylum seekers, but during the development process it became apparent that it would not be possible to structure clearly defined scales that could work well both for Refugees and for Asylum seekers, given the difference in eligibility for housing and benefits etc. so the scales, particularly Housing, Money and Education and Work relate options available to Refugees rather than Asylum Seekers.

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The Integration Star is one of two new Stars which are designed to support organisations and services that work with service users who are refugees, asylum-seekers and need assistance in settling in their new home and navigating a new country.  The Planning Star is the Outcomes Star for asylum-seeking children and may be more suitable for services working to support children. Both Stars have a strong foundation in supporting and empowering service users to best adjust and navigate the complexity of refugee and asylum-status. For more information please contact us.

5 things licensed trainers and keyworkers need to know about trauma-informed approaches

As part of Triangle’s Licensed Trainer option, trainers are expected to complete a certain number of continuing development programs over the course of each year. Nick Karr will be running a session, this May, for Licensed Trainers on how the Star is becoming more trauma informed and how this can be embedded into Outcomes Star training. He shares 5 key things that people should know about trauma-informed approaches.

5 things licensed trainers and workers should know about trauma-informed approaches:

  • A trauma-informed approach, like the Star, uses the client centred and strengths based approaches you already know about and use with clients
  • It shifts the perspective from ‘what is wrong with you’ to ‘what has happened to you’
  • You can’t take away the client’s past – but a supportive relationship with a worker, can make a big difference
  • The conversations you have with clients when using the Star contribute to a trauma sensitive approach, as we are focusing on the present, not the past
  • It isn’t all up to you as a worker – a trauma-informed approach, like the Outcomes Star, needs buy in from your organisation and you need their support.

On May 24, 2021, Nick Karr will host a short session on the Star and trauma informed approaches and training. These CPD sessions are free but available for Licensed Trainers only. Nick Karr has worked with Triangle for seven years. He delivered the first Outcomes Star training in the USA in 2010 and then helped launch and run the Outcomes Star in Australia for two years. Nick is a London based psychotherapist where he has worked in a range of specialist clinical roles, and is now the Lead in an NHS service for people with mental health and substance misuse problems. He completed a Masters’ in Social Work at the Tavistock Clinic, taught on university social work and mental health programs, and is also a Professional Advisor for Young Minds.

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For more information on how the Stars can support organisations and keyworkers to work in a more trauma-informed manner, please take a look at our guide, or contact Triangle for a more in depth conversation about the Stars, which Stars may be appropriate for your organisations and more information on our training offers.

LT resource update

During 2020 we launched a new online system, and all training resources were moved over to that new site in November 2020. The ‘training library’ that some Licensed Trainers may remember has now gone and everything can be found in one place on the Star Online.

All Licensed Trainers should have been sent a new log-in and password to enable them to access the site even if their organisation doesn’t use the Star Online for recording service user Stars. 

There is also a second site, the ‘training site’ which all Licensed Trainers can access.  The single function of the training site is to enable new practitioners and colleagues to understand how the system works.  Trainers can access this site and, if their organisation uses the Star Online system for completing and recording service user Stars, then they will find it a really helpful option. 

What’s new?

There are some new resources in the main site and a useful discrete space for Licensed Trainers in the help section. By accessing the training site, all Licensed Trainers can set up self-directed learning opportunities for their colleagues to practice using the system or trainers can just use it to deliver demonstrations of how it works.

So how do Licensed Trainers access other versions of the Star?

This has been a question that has been asked by many Licensed Trainers, so here is the answer…

Licensed Trainers are only able to access training resources for Stars that are linked to their account (these will have been set up by the account lead for each organisation).  If a decision is made to use a new Star version within an organisation or service, then the request for additional Star versions to be added to the account will need to be made by the manager of the service to the account lead. This request will need to be made before the training takes place or trainers will not be able to access training resources or other resources such as User Guides and Star Charts. 

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Licensed Trainers are part of a community of trainers. For more information on the benefits and uses of becoming a Licensed Trainer or what the process entails, please contact laura@triangleconsulting.co.uk

Introducing CPD sessions for Licensed Trainers

A series of CPD sessions free for Licensed Trainers to educate, inform, inspire, and connect us all.

Triangle’s training and implementation teams have been hard at work to create a new series of CPD training sessions for all of our Licensed Trainers across the world. Licensed Trainers (LT’s) are individuals within organisations who have been nominated and trained to effectively deliver training and support within their organisations. As part of the Licensed Trainer support, Triangle has, in the past, offered a series of Development Days which provide an opportunity for Licensed Trainers to gain additional support, training, update their skills and network across other organisations.

 

What are the CPD sessions?

These new CPD sessions have been developed as a result of the changing working environment and in response to requests from the Trainers to provide ongoing support and regular CPD in specific areas. Licensed Trainers must complete a total of 6 hours of CPD training across the year in order to maintain their LT status.

 

What do the sessions cover?

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.

When are the CPD sessions?

The CPD sessions are scheduled across the year. More information below:

Licensed Trainers will be emailed details of the sessions and information on how to book their places. For more information, please email laura@triangleconsulting.co.uk.

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Licensed Trainers are trained and licenced to run Outcomes Star training within an organisation. This ‘train the trainer’ route can be cost-effective for large organisations. For more information on how to become a Licensed Trainer and the benefits of joining the team please contact us.