The ideas driving social provision are steering it off course, says Triangle’s report.

As the service delivery system adapts its operations and enters recovery mode after the disruption of the pandemic, Triangle, the social enterprise behind the Outcomes StarTM suite of tools, has synthesised 20 years of learning about how people change and come to some surprising conclusions. 

Led by Joy MacKeith, the white paper draws on Triangle’s unique experience of creating 44 different variants of the Star, used by over 1000 organisations with over 1.4 million completions.  It calls for “Enabling Help” – an approach to service delivery based on what Triangle has learnt about the kind of support that helps people overcome challenges and reach their full potential. 

Enabling Help means relational, motivational, developmental, holistic and flexible services.  And it implies that management, commissioning and policymaking should focus firmly on making that possible.

Enabling Help leads people through crisis

For example, when David, suffering from crippling long-term depression and anxiety, completed the Recovery StarTM with a mental health day-centre worker, he said, “I felt listened to for the first time – like a person rather than a problem”. He stopped treading water and starting believing that things could change – eventually becoming a mental health worker himself. 

But the way services are commissioned and managed often gets in the way of this kind of approach.  The report is calling for a rethink of the ideas driving social provision to make the vision of Enabling Help a reality.  That means management, commissioning and policymaking that recognise the complexity and uniqueness of people’s lives and the importance of bespoke and well-coordinated services.

Flexible, problem-solving approaches achieve outcomes

During the pandemic, funders, commissioners and managers have recognised the importance of flexibility and responsiveness and focused less on metrics and targets. Joy’s report argues that we need to prioritise this kind of flexible, collaborative, problem-solving approach in ‘normal’ times because that is what achieves outcomes.

That doesn’t mean abandoning accountability – but switching the focus from targets to learning and responsiveness. 

Joy MacKeith says:

“The Outcomes StarTM is rooted in a belief in human potential and an understanding of how people change.  We have found that this can be in tension with the way services are commissioned and managed at the moment.

We are adding our voice to a growing movement of people saying that we have to do things differently.  That means fewer reports, more conversations, fewer procedures and more problem-solving.  Less focus on numbers and more on the narratives to help us understand our world and how to make things better”.

Register to attend the Enabling Help webinar on 3rd November 2021.

Watch 4 min video on Enabling Help.

About Triangle:  Triangle creates engaging tools and promotes enabling approaches that help funders, commissioners, and service providers transform lives. The Outcomes StarsTM are an evidence-based way of co-creating and measuring individual change.

For more information about Triangle, the creators of the Outcomes StarTM,   please visit www.outcomesstar.org.uk or contact Joy at [email protected] or +(44) 20 7272 8765.