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Homeless Community of Practice November 2023

“Find people who have the energy to change the system, bring them together, empower and enable them to create change”.
Rachel Sinkha, Finance Innovations Lab


Following a rather stressful drive through unsettling weather, the clouds dispersed leaving a damp but now shiny and colourful Basingstoke town centre. Grabbing a coffee and entering a building I haven’t been in for well over 25 years. The team began to assemble in the lobby before going upstairs and being shown into the council chambers of Basingstoke and Deane council offices.

We had a representative from DLUHC, John Isserlis, to give us an overview of the national data set and gave us an example of the trend reporting. We had an overview of CHAIN (Combined Homelessness and Information Network) this is collated by name data, which follows the person. A stark reflection is that many people leave homeless support, but no one knows where they go. What was interesting here is the trend movement - only five percent on either side improvement and decline. As the data gets more upstream it becomes far more summarised, but the themes can become clearer perhaps. For example, there ends up with more single men on the streets than other cohorts, especially those with English not as first language.


There were some useful reflections from Rachel Fletcher, a Commissioner from Basingstoke, that they were asking questions reflective of knowing your story.

“Why this town, why this doorway, why now?”  Learning about people’s stories is really powerful in understanding the problem, hence the desire to create a better way of understanding the story and journey. We had a discussion about case studies and their importance; this led on to journey maps and the possibility of a journey map following the person and this helping to narrate the need and prevent traumatisation.

Nick Maguire added an interesting question about who is the data for? He suggested a ream of alternative questions and measures that map on to system thinking.

·        What changed as a result of your service?

·        How many people do you see?

o   this is only part of the puzzle but whilst we concentrate on flow and numbers, we are missing out quality and people re-entering services.

·        How many people are re-entering your service?

·        How do we match MH and DA?

·        Wellbeing as the first measure

·        A sense of social function

·        Sense of hope

Nick continued that there are benefits and issues around diagnosis, for example Mental Health, it localises the problem in the individual that the system then assumes needs fixing over the system issues and then creates a medicalised pathway through services which becomes unhelpful.  

There is a recognition that there is a sharp focus on outputs and therefore work on outcomes can become missed or unrealised.

Getting people to realise their own data. Goal setting etc, can have a really person centred feel and approach and can then be drawn into quantitative analysis.



Case studies can be used but they tend to be picked to highlight something in particular. Whilst this can be good, it is not often that they are used to highlight a problem needing to be solved.  In competitive tendering this will not be revealed over the examples that provided good services.  Therefore, getting a true picture of issues is hidden and not shared.

Basingstoke and Deane are using meaningful outcomes measures. They are coproducing from the start and using combination of case studies, data, incidents and learning opportunities, client feedback and onsite meetings and observations.

The commissioner talked about the risk taken 8 years ago to get the programme to where it is now, they pledged to be non-punitive and helpful.

They loosened up the strict criteria.

Their outlook feels considerably different. They have informal meetings and capture regular feedback, not waiting for formal monitoring. Developing trusting and open relationships so they are not just listening to what they want to hear or tick boxes.

 In this way they can problem solve together, there is a recognition that they don’t know everything and therefore ask for help. Providers don’t feel they are on their own. Nick is working on the Meaningful Outcomes Framework which uses personalised outcomes in measures which values the individuals view about the change that is important to them.

We then had a presentation about a smaller scale research project from a peer led organisation. They have had a number of people that have used their services and not gone back into other services. They help their clients identify their aspirations and understanding the barriers that they face.



 They ask:

·        What would you like to achieve?

·        What is getting in the way?

·        What would you like to do more or less of?

The behaviours are then monitored together with them.

It’s really positive to see there are a lot of ideas that are coming together and an agreement that we have to work towards client experience measures.

A Commissioner Perspective Rachel Fletcher 20 November
Download PDF • 253KB

Meaningful Outcomes
Download PDF • 662KB

Evaluating Evaluation Rough Sleeping Policy Perspective
Download • 143KB

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