The National Agenda
MEAM (Making Every Adult Matter) is a coalition made up of Clinks, Homeless Link and Mind. They work to ensure that in every local area, people experiencing multiple needs are supported by effective, coordinated services; and empowered to tackle their problems and reach their full potential.
Their recently released report MULTIPLE NEEDS Time for political leadership will be taken to all parts of Government over the coming months. MEAM staff will discuss the four key steps outlined in the report, and will also be meeting with policy-makers from across Whitehall to consider how the steps can be implemented.
A key point made in the report is the flaw in the approach of supporting those with multiple and complex needs. Issues are currently treated separately, when they should be seen as connected and treated as so. For example if a Beneficiary is experiencing mental ill health, substance misuse and repeatedly offending – these issues should be considered and treated as a whole. As part of our work at Opportunity Nottingham we are actively working towards this approach and aiming to drive system change at a local level. We work with our Partners and other Nottingham City based organisations to ensure a connected approach to support. We provide the link between organisations, ensuring that the information is shared and Beneficiary needs are met in full. We have identified that each Beneficiary is on a very different journey, and support needs to reflect this – one approach does not fit all.
MULTIPLE NEEDS Time for political leadership calls for a coordinated approach from public services, one that focuses on prevention and effective response where a response is needed. The four key steps are as follows:
- COMMIT – show leadership as a government in tackling both the causes and consequences of multiple needs
- COLLABORATE – work together across government , modelling the approach that local areas are using to generate successful outcomes
- CHALLENGE – set an expectation for local areas to support those facing multiple and complex needs
- INVEST – make sure flexible funding is available to enable services to work together and respond to local needs.
The report can be read in full here.
Our Expert Citizens contributed to the content of this report. Their feedback involved concerns that government is not supporting people with multiple needs, and they are at the bottom of the priority list. An overwhelming feeling was that 'talk is cheap', that promises are frequently made but never delivered. Concerns were also raised that decision-makers do not understand what it is like to really experience multiple and complex needs.
The Expert Citizens also provided the following feedback:
Organisations could work together and use funding more effectively by... "meeting as one and make people more aware of multiple and complex needs. We still deserve a chance in society. Set up forums, workshops and training so that we are listened to. Get involved and show an interest – hear what we say and do not be judgmental. Do not judge a book by its cover. Show an understanding."
Funding could be reviewed so that structures... "allow local Commissioners and services to develop solutions that make the most sense for their areas. Flexible funding should foster better collaboration between organisations to improve support for people experiencing multiple needs."
We are pleased to see the above contributions reflected directly in the report, and will provide updates on the government response via MEAM in the coming months.