David Kidd: Lived experience takes a seat at top table
Services supporting people experiencing or at risk of homelessness in Scotland’s biggest city will be transformed as the new Glasgow Alliance to End Homelessness takes the lead role in co-ordinating services and prevention work. One of the most important parts of the approach to many is that its work will involve, as equal partners, people with their own lived experience of homelessness. Change lead at Homeless Network Scotland, David Kidd, explains the process.
A few weeks before the coronavirus crisis took hold it was announced which group of organisations would lead the new Alliance, working with the city council to transform the planning, design and delivery of homelessness services. Aspire, Crossreach, Loretto Care, Mungo Foundation, Sacro, Salvation Army and YPeople make up the successful group. Objectives include ending rough sleeping, preventing homelessness and alleviating its impact, reducing the length of time people spend in temporary accommodation, minimising repeat homelessness and helping people who were formerly homeless maintain their tenancy.
Glasgow City Health & Social Care Partnership (GCHSCP) has traditionally bought a variety of homelessness services from third and independent sector service providers. The new arrangement will see GCHSCP retain statutory responsibility for homelessness, while commissioning becomes a collaborative process alongside the service providers who formed the new Alliance and, most importantly, members of Glasgow Homelessness Involvement and Feedback Team (GHIFT).
GHIFT is made up of people with lived experience, supported by Homeless Network Scotland. Members of GHIFT have spent many months working with GCHSP, embedded in their procurement team to help decide which partnership would lead the Glasgow Alliance to End Homelessness.
This rewarding and challenging work followed on from a role helping to bring about the Alliance initially. From taking part in a co-produced, city-wide review of homelessness services, where the need for a more collaborative way of working was established, to co-designing outcomes that the Alliance will work towards – lived experience had a seat at the top table through GHIFT. Its members will continue to be involved in decision making as the Alliance ramps up.
Martin, a GHIFT member who worked on the Glasgow Alliance tender, said: “Before the scoring process started, I was worried that I wasn’t capable or didn’t know enough to fully get involved but I found that I knew more than I gave myself credit for. The training and support made the process easier and having people listen to me as an equal has made improvements to my confidence & self-esteem.
“Because of my previous experiences I had an impression of the council as people who didn’t care about homelessness, like it was just a job. Now I’ve had the chance to see things from the other side and it has completely changed how I feel.”
Linda Hutchinson is a specialist consultant working on the Alliance procurement process and congratulated the members of GHIFT for their work, saying: “The Glasgow experience was one of the best examples of alliance development that I have seen. The contribution made by people with lived experience from GHIFT towards reaching the final decision strengthens the process significantly, and provides additional reassurance for the HSCP that the right outcome was achieved.”
GHIFT is currently on the lookout for new members. If you, or someone you work with, has a passion for system-change and would like more information about joining GHIFT and how to get involved in ending homelessness in Glasgow, please contact me (David Kidd) at the email firstname.lastname@example.org or find us on Twitter @Homelessnetscot – or download the recruitment pack www.homelessnetwork.scot/ghift and find out all about it.