Blue Triangle Housing Association creates a ‘Better Future’ for service users
People using a Glasgow housing support project are being given the chance to take more control to change their lives thanks to the introduction of a pioneering initiative.
Blue Triangle (Glasgow) Housing Association’s (BTHA) Lanark Project provides temporary accommodation to people experiencing a period of homelessness, and has been using the Better Futures framework to track the progress of the individuals it supports.
BTHA believes Better Futures has allowed individuals to make rapid progress by having a support plan that is based on their goals – while staff have also reported having greater confidence to manage their cases.
One individual at BTHA housing said: “Better Futures is a brilliant tool and is great for seeing the progress I have made – I didn’t think I had made as much progress as I have.
“The visual tool that it provides is fantastic – being able to see how far I have come on a diagram has made more of an impact than words ever would have done.”
The Better Futures framework, which is underpinned by a web based recording system that uses easy-to-follow reporting tools, not only aids those using support services to identify goals and chart their progress towards independent living, but also enables organisations to track outcomes – a feature which is equally advantageous for providers and their funders.
In addition to providing safe and secure accommodation for people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness, BTHA also works with its service users to help them gain the necessary skills to move onto more independent living and achieve a better quality of life.
Lesley Munro, project manager at BTHA, said it was important for other support providers and local authorities to seize the advantages of Better Futures.
She said: “Our service users and staff have found Better Futures to be an easy system to use and understand and it has had a very positive impact.
“It’s particularly effective as it’s entirely needs-led by the individual themselves. Our service users of all ages use and like this tool as the visual aid allows them to be able to track their journey at a glance and pin point where they were at the start of their support to where they are now.
“Feedback we have had indicated that it encourages the person to be immediately engaged, to take greater responsibility and puts them in control of changing their lives. They feel empowered as the support plan is only based on their goals.
“We would definitely recommend using Better Futures to other support services as it is a very flexible and adaptable monitoring tool which has had huge benefits for our service users and their tailored support plans. It also allows staff to pull information from the system at the touch of a button which may be required by local authorities.”
The development of Better Futures was funded by the Scottish Government through the Housing Support Enabling Unit (HSEU) - a partnership initiative between Coalition of Care and Support Providers (CCPS) and the Scottish Federation of Housing Associations (SFHA).
BTHA is one of 22 organisations – including services in the Western Isles, Highland and central belt – signed up to use Better Futures, and although that figure is ahead of target, the HSEU is keen to make the system available to even more services and individuals across Scotland.
Yvette Burgess, unit director at HSEU, said: “As the integration of health and social care gets underway, it has never been more important for providers of housing support to demonstrate the impact they have on improving outcomes at an individual level, particularly in terms of health, housing and social wellbeing. Better Futures provides a good way of doing just that.”
Better Futures has been inspired by various approaches used by supported services in Scotland and England and has developed out of the Supporting People Outcomes Framework which was piloted in Scotland in 2007.