When I get asked to put together one of these blogs it usually fills me with dread – I often think to myself: “What can I write that is going to be interesting to a reader?”
This time I’m using this blog as an opportunity for reflection on the changes we have made to our approach to Quality Assurance over the fourth year of our delivery.
We were really keen to try to make our regional delivery more localised, appreciating local nuances and identifying local fidelity challenges but still with central oversight so that practice could be shared across localities.
Our Quality Assurance process has always started with our zonal delivery teams completing a reflective self-assessment that identifies good practice and challenges across their zone in delivering in-line with each of the seven principles of Housing First.
In order to move to a more localised approach, adjustments were made to the self-assessment template to support reflection of local good practice and challenges.
These local fidelity challenges are highlighted at our refreshed assurance and learning meetings with our delivery partners where individual Local Authority representatives are now present to support with learning and have solution-focused discussions to navigate and overcome challenges in their locality.
Where good practice has been identified, we share that practice with other localities to support practice change/improvement across the region.
In our most recent Quality Assurance cycle, the principle ‘support is based on people’s strengths, goals and aspirations’ was rated the lowest by a number of our delivery partners.
It’s no surprise that this principle was one of the most affected by the Covid-19 pandemic with services and group activities in the community being heavily reduced or stopping all together, restricting people’s ability to truly explore their strengths goals and aspirations.
This is an area that we have been really keen to develop over the past 12 months and are looking to further this work in the future.
Now that things have returned to relative normality, we have enlisted the help of Collaborate Out Loud to complete a locality purpose mapping exercise identifying the organisations, groups and activities that are available for people supported by our programme to access and help them to explore their goals.
Workers have access to the purpose maps for each Local Authority and can use them to have conversations with people they support about the types of activities they might like to be involved in and go along with them to test out if it is something they would like to continue to attend.
In addition to the purpose maps, we have recently devolved peer budgets to each of our delivery zones so that people on the programme have the necessary funding they need to set up their own activities and groups to help and support their peers, not only those on Housing First but other people in their local area.
We want our people to create lasting supportive networks that go beyond the boundaries of our programme to create a lasting legacy for GM Housing First in years to come.
I’m really excited to see what new groups and activities that come out of the devolved peer budgets and hope to be able to write about them in my next blog!