Triangle reflects on attending the Scotland that cares – Scottish Parliamentary Reception event – 7th March 2023

I’m Jim Borland, the Implementation Lead for Triangle in Scotland and it was my privilege to attend the recent Scottish Parliamentary Reception event hosted by Oxfam, promoting a new campaign ‘A Scotland that cares’.

The campaign is focused on why making a commitment to valuing and investing in care within the National Performance Framework is so vital to drive progress towards a Scotland that cares. The campaign has been launched to coincide with the first review of the National Outcomes framework in five years. It sets out the argument that to build a fairer and more resilient country, the Scottish government must set a National Outcome for Scotland to fully value and invest in all forms of care and all those who provide it. Too many carers face deep personal and financial costs, including poverty. With the cost-of-living crisis deepening pressures on those who rely on or provide care are increasing. Only once this standard exists, can we then all work together to create positive change for society.

A New National Outcome on Care

The campaign has created a blueprint for a new National Outcome on Care, but it requires public support and the political will to change the current situation and work towards improving the situation for those who experience and provide care across Scotland.

The event was organised by Oxfam Scotland and sponsored by Karen Adam, MSP for Banffshire and Buchan Coast. There were approximately 60 attendees’ from interested agencies, including staff from some of the 55 organisations that currently support the campaign. These included Carers Scotland, Carers Trust, One Parent Families Scotland and Scottish Care, as well as a variety of MSPs from constituencies across Scotland. I am proud to say that Triangle is also one of the supporting organisations.

Support the campaign

Jamie Livingston, the head of Oxfam Scotland opened the event describing his lived experience of caring for his sister who died after battling cancer.  He highlighted the practical issues facing those requiring care and those providing it, but also the issues for the carers once their caring role ends. He talked about his sister’s determination to be active in improving the situation.  Highlighting her efforts of contacting, all the political leaders in Scotland to raise awareness of the lack of support for all those needing and providing care. He has taken his sisters positive action through to this campaign. Whilst many current Scottish political parties already support future change, there is an opportunity for everyone, especially those who experience care and those who provide it to add their voice to the call by taking action via the campaign website:

Karen Adam MSP, then highlighted her own lived experience of being a carer, outlining the need for financial support and appropriate resources being made available to help individuals being cared for or fulfilling the very difficult carer’s role itself. She highlighted the need for the carers voice to be heard, valued and rewarded for the work that they do.

Jamie Livingston provided background information on the campaign, which started in 2021 during the Covid-19 pandemic. At the time, it was clear those being cared for, and their carers were excluded from many aspects of the pandemic recovery plans. This was highlighted by the fact care and carers are invisible in all 11 Scottish National Performance framework outcome indicators.  

Together with several partner agencies, the drive to change started with the intention to ensure a permanence to investment in the caring role.  Together with the development and publication of policy via a new National Outcome on Care. Working in conjunction with the University of the West of Scotland (UWS) the partnership developed a blueprint for a new National Outcome. It is hoped to be the basis for potential care indicators specifically linked to carers and the caring role in Scotland. Jamie also highlighted the upcoming consultation phase of the Scottish Government’s review of National Standards and urged individuals and organisations alike to be involved in this consultation and support change to the National Outcomes.

Seven new national indicators have been identified to measure progress:

  • The quality of life of carers, care workers and those experiencing care;
  • The quality of care for all;
  • The financial wellbeing of carers, care workers and those experiencing care;
  • The voice and influence of carers, care workers and those experiencing care;
  • Access to education and training;
  • The adequacy of funding for care;
  • The job quality of social care and childcare workers

Oxfam Scotland: “We want Scotland to fully value and invest in those experiencing care and all those providing it because… Scotland’s one million unpaid carers are the bedrock of health and social care, without whom the care system would collapse. Despite saving Scotland £10.9 billion each year, too often they experience poverty, loss of employment and ill health simply because they care. This must change!”

Satwat Rahman, CEO of One Parent Families Scotland, outlined the importance of this work, and why her organisation has been involved since its inception. Introducing four panel speakers, all with similar negative lived experience of the current support available. These experiences included:

  • The view that the carers’ role is predominately valued and seen as a priority only by family members, peers and caring services. General opinion was that there was little, or no value put on this role by external services, including education, employment, and financial services.
  • There was an expectation from external agencies that carers should ‘know what to do’, without any support.
  • Very limited support available for young carers, especially in the areas of education and finance – thus the carer’s own life and dreams have to be put on hold and suffer whilst they fulfil their caring role.
  • An overly complicated benefits system, which was off-putting to a lot of carers.
  • A lack of resources for those requiring care, or respite for the carers themselves. Demonstrating the need for infrastructure improvements in care provision as one size doesn’t fit all.

Consequently, the need for recognition around the importance of the carers role was emphasised.  Increased and appropriate funding for carers and carers services is needed, to assist carers to provide support and ensure the person requiring care is treated appropriately and with dignity.

Karen Hedge, deputy CEO of Scottish Care concluded the presentations highlighting the view that carers were seen as ‘Cinderella’ within Social Care services, and much more is required to support these individuals. She further emphasised the need for proper policy and legislation which in turn would require achievements to be measured to ensure compliance. Only then would Scotland be able to demonstrate we are a nation that cares.

I found all the personal stories and experiences very moving, particularly from the four panel members sharing their ‘lived’ experience.

As an organisation, Triangle is not directly involved in supporting individuals. We develop Outcomes Star’s for organisations who provide support to individuals in a wide range of social provision settings, including carers. The Carers Star was developed in partnership with the Social Enterprise in East Lothian (SEEL), The Carers Trust and funding from the Scottish Government. It provides a robust framework to assist practitioners work together with carers to help optimise the quality of their lives and assist them in their caring role.

We often discuss the importance of enabling and empowering people by being person-centred and strengths-based and this Star will assist in identifying a carers strengths and challenges to identify support needs to improve the carers situation. However, as highlighted by most of the speakers, the current apathy towards the carer’s role and lack of resources and finance available to support this role directly impacts what is achievable by a person or supporting organisation.

The culture around current care services in Scotland requires change if Scotland is to demonstrate that it values and invests in all individuals experiencing or providing care.

The event gave me plenty to think about and I am personally committed along with my colleagues within Triangle to support this campaign and I would urge anyone reading this post to add their voice to the campaign.

Support the campaign

Please visit the campaign website: and sign up to the campaign to create change for this vital cohort of our society. Everyone will need to be cared for at some point in their life: as a child, in later life, or due to additional support needs. If you receive care or are a carer yourself, please let our political leaders know why valuing and investing in care matters to you.

Further information

If you would like further information about the Carers Star, please email us at

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Blog: The National Homelessness Event

In this blog, Triangle’s Research Analyst, Dr. Anna Good reflects on the recent National Homelessness Event and outlines how the new Home Star is aligned with the latest thinking.

Dr Teixeira, Chief Executive Officer at the Centre for Homelessness Impact opened the conference with a powerful address that noted that ‘we need to act quickly on the root causes of homelessness’, to ensure ‘access to right support at the right time’ – and that ‘if we do not act the most vulnerable will be cast adrift’. She also highlighted the increased pressures on the workforce, those they support, and the early signs of increasing homelessness in the UK.

We also heard these challenges from our clients the homelessness sector during our recent two-year development process to update the Homelessness Star.

In 2022, after working closely with service providers in the homelessness, housing, and justice sectors we launched the new Home Star to replace the Homelessness Star.

I was particularly struck by the similarities between the approaches the experts at this conference described for supporting people experiencing homelessness and, not only the new Home Star, but also the ethos of all the Outcomes Stars.

Key support approaches for homelessness highlighted, included:

  • Individually tailored support, specifically focusing on women and those who have experienced domestic violence
  • Person-centered
  • Trauma-informed
  • Centered on trust, open conversations, and relationships
  • Holistic, including working on external barriers

For almost 20 years, Triangle, the Creator of the Outcomes Stars, has passionately believed in supporting services to put these same principles into practice. Since our inception in 2003, we have developed almost fifty Outcomes Stars, tailored to specific needs using this approach.

The Outcomes Star for housing and other needs, originally known as the Homelessness Star was Triangle’s first Star.  Originally published in 2006, it has been through several revisions since.

It has always been person-centred, holistic, and designed to facilitate open conversations and build trust.

The value of lived experience

An outreach worker at St Mungo’s gave a moving account which grounded these principles in the real experience for people: ‘There is a danger of a one size fits all approach that really didn’t help me when I was homeless – support needs to be personalised’…being person-centred and allowing people to take things at their own pace is really important’.

The Home Star embodies these principles. It supports services to work holistically with people to co-create measurable and sustainable change. It supports collaborative conversations about change and support plans, as well as measuring distance travelled. It is suitable for psychologically informed environments (PIE), complex needs, women with children, and victims of crime including domestic violence.

In this latest version, we’ve ensured the language is even more trauma-informed, strengths-based, and client-centred.  Placing far greater recognition on external factors, such as housing issues that can be beyond a person’s control.

The Home Star is a combined keywork and outcomes measurement tool that facilitates the right support at the right time and can also help support staff well-being through highlighting the progress they have made with people in these very challenging times.

Learn more about the new Home Star and how it can support homelessness, housing and complex needs services.



Other Stars available for housing associations, supported accommodation services, and homelessness services.

Young Persons Star – designed for use with young people moving into independent living after being in care or in prison. 

Tenancy Star – designed for tenants living in social housing or privately rented accommodation, at risk of losing their tenancy or experiencing other issues.

Independent Living Star – designed to support people with complex needs to stay living in their homes for as long as possible.

June newsletter roundup

Triangle’s June newsletter recently went out! In it, we celebrate the Centre for Public Impact has recognised the Outcomes Star as a tool for turning Human Learning Systems 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.  

Key news also included:

  • Outcomes Star for homelessness gets a radical overhaul, the resulting Home Star is bang up-to-date, genuinely person-centred and very trauma-informed.
  • Triangle is mapping the Family Star Plus onto the government’s new outcomes framework, taking effect from Oct 2022. Read more
  • FEEDBACK: Family Star Plus – draft edition 2 is now ready for evaluation. Open invitation to all Family Star Practitioners to review the draft edition and tell us your thoughts. Read more  
  • REVIEW: My Star – for vulnerable children & their families. Do you use My Star to capture the voice of vulnerable children, children in foster care or children’s homes? Invitation to practitioners to talk about your experiences using this Star. Read more
  • Introducing the Outcomes Star: How it works 
  • Practical examples of achieving service delivery improvements: Read case studies
  • Interview with a Project Worker at Catch22’s Violence Reduction Service: Watch 1 min video 
  • A roundup of our latest news and blogs: take a look at our past blog posts

Read through June’s newsletter and past issues here, and subscribe to receive future newsletters and keep up to date with outcomes measurement and news of the Stars.


Contact Triangle at or +44(0) 20 7272 8765 for more information on any of our news, Stars and training offers.

My Star – tell us what you think

We are reviewing My Star and are keen to hear from people using it with children and families. Tell us about your experience using the tool – what works well? What needs to change to meet the current needs of the children you are working with. We appreciate changes that have happened in the last five years such as the pandemic since My Star was published in 2017.

Developing and reviewing the suite of over 40 Outcomes Stars is a dynamic process, and we rely on people sharing their experiences and suggestions so we can best respond to your current needs.

We invest part of the Star Licence fee in ongoing Star review and improvement and creating new resources, to keep the tools up to date, accessible and reliable.


My Star is for children in vulnerable families or being looked after by foster carers or in a children’s home. It is mainly used with those aged 7-14 but can be used more broadly.

Triangle developed My Star in 2016-17 in collaboration with a range of family support workers and other professionals. The My Star collaborators included Family Action, Action for Children, Westminster Council and Coram, plus several smaller organisations through part-funding from the UK Government Department for Education Growing our Strengths programme.

Tell us what you think today – what works and what could be improved?

Sara Burns leads on the development of the Stars. Please contact us with your feedback and suggestions or arrange a call: We look forward to hearing from you!


Guiding Stars: How the Outcomes Stars help build hope and self-esteem

Having recently returned from a long holiday, I am re-engaging freshly with Triangle’s work, creating Stars, training and supporting people to use them well and sharing our wider vision of an enabling service delivery system.

Returning after a solo hiking along the beautiful Cleveland Way, I had the chance to see our work with fresh eyes, and ask myself the question, “After 20 years of working on the Outcomes Star, why does it still matter to me so much?”

The answer that came when I asked myself that question was this: Working with the Outcomes Star gives people access to a developmental framing of their situation. The Star presents their situation as a time of challenge, not a sign of failure. The fact that they need help is an opportunity for them to draw on their existing strengths and develop new ones rather than being a sign of weakness. For people who are so often seen as a set of problems, having access to this hopeful, growthful narrative really matters. It is a simple reframing but it can make all the difference.

The Star reflects the person’s life back to them; they see they are a traveller moving forwards on their journey in life, rather than someone who has come to a dead end. The endpoints or the tips on the Star point to the way things could be, and in some cases they show what is already working well, giving people something to celebrate as well as offering things to work towards.

Stars have always been a navigational guide and a symbol of hope. Outcomes Stars are aptly named because they do just that – offer hope and guide us in the right direction. They don’t tell us exactly how to get there or exactly what it will look like when we arrive. That is something only the person completing the Star can discover for themselves. But they do shine the light forwards and give us the self-belief and self-confidence to keep moving forwards toward a better life.

We all need to see ourselves as heroes in our own journey – facing challenges and setbacks, but achieving and finding a way through as well.

As I reflect on my 20 years helping guide Triangle through the many challenges and triumphs of our work, I feel proud to be able to play a part in helping others move forward on their life’s journey. Refreshed by my holiday I am as hopeful and excited as ever at the potential of the Outcomes Stars to support and embed an enabling approach to service delivery.

Joy MacKeith, Founding Director

To find out more about Triangle’s vision for service delivery read “Enabling Help: How the social provision can work better for the people it services”. You can download the report or watch this video of Joy speaking about the key ideas in the report.


Family Star Plus – draft edition 2 now ready for feedback

Tell us what you think

A year ago, we launched our review of the Family Stars with a comprehensive call to all users to find out what they thought. We now have a draft new edition of the Family Star Plus out for consultation. We will finalise it in the autumn, apply the learning to the other Family Stars and publish new, improved editions in spring 2023.

Our commitment to the suite of Stars

As a social enterprise, Triangle invests part of the Star licence in keeping the suite of Stars under review and up to date. We stay abreast of changes in sectors and keep learning alongside our collaborators. After 20 years, almost 50 Stars and over 60 research studies, we’ve learnt a lot. And much has changed and continues to change. In reviewing the Family Stars, we set out to address some aspects of the language and better reflect the increasingly challenging external environment, with more families experiencing poverty.

Language changes in Edition 2

We wanted the new editions to be even more strengths-based, trauma-informed, conversational and accessible. We addressed specific wording issues that users of the Stars raised, such as replacing ‘effective parenting’ at the top of the scale with ‘self-reliance’, the point at which families no longer need the service to ensure their children can thrive. We have better worded the scales to avoid any suggestion of blame or triggers for people while keeping the essential clarity needed between stages.

Fit with the Supporting Families outcomes framework 2022-2025

The original Family Star dates back to 2010. We later published the Family Star Plus in response to the UK government’s Supporting Families initiative (originally ‘Troubled Families’) and mapped the Family Star to the Scottish government outcomes framework. We have already mapped Edition 2 to the new Supporting Families outcomes framework and added references to some Star scales to clarify the fit while staying relevant to the diverse and international users of this Star.

The new editions keep the same outcome areas and Journey of Change. They will replace the current editions in 2023 without any impact on your reporting or training – though it may be an excellent opportunity to consider refreshing how you use the Star to ensure you get the most from it.

We are inviting Family Star users to review the draft new edition and tell us what you think.

Please contact:

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.



New podcast featuring Joy, one of the creators of the Outcomes Star

ShareImpact is run by social entrepreneur Kat Luckock, to help others tell their social impact stories.

Kat makes a regular podcast featuring the women behind innovative businesses and organisations aiming to achieve a social mission.  Her most recent podcast features Joy MacKeith, co-founder and director of Triangle and one of the creators of the Outcomes Star.

Listen to the podcast here to find out more about the story behind the Star, the way Triangle works and the things Joy has learnt along the way.

Music Therapy Star Training from Coram – 18th April 2015

The Music Therapy Star was developed in collaboration with Coram, who are running a dedicated training day in the Music Therapy Star on Saturday 18th April 2015, 10am-4pm at Coram Campus, 41 Brunswick Square, London WC1N 1AZ.

The Music Therapy Star is a collaborative outcomes measure designed to measure the impact of music therapy intervention for children and families.

To reserve a place on the training individual therapists will first need to apply to Triangle for a license to use the Star at a cost of £16.50 per head. Once confirmation of a license is received by Coram a place on the training can be reserved. To apply for a license please e mail Jane Borer at

The cost of the training will be £90 inclusive of VAT.

For all enquiries please contact