Individuals with multiple needs: the case for a national focus

May 06, 2015

Sam Thomas and Oliver Hilbery

Recent research reveals that in any one year, 58,000 people in England face problems of homelessness, substance misuse and offending. Today, MEAM and the Gulbenkian Foundation have published a paper (and executive summary) setting out the case for a new national focus on these individuals.

The case for a national focus for people with multiple needs_MEA
Download the paper

The paper follows the Budget of March 2015, in which the Government committed to explore options to integrate spending around vulnerable people, including those with multiple needs. This was a welcome announcement that built on commitments in last year’s Autumn Statement.

Since then, the Gulbenkian Foundation and MEAM have been speaking to senior civil servants across government about what a national focus on individuals with multiple needs would look like and the key questions that need to be answered to support its design and implementation.

Today’s paper provides answers to the five key questions posed by officials. It recommends that a new national focus should take the form of a national framework including broad top-level outcomes, targeted funding and evaluation support. The framework should be flexible enough to encourage a wide range of local interventions, with local areas responsible for devising the shape of these interventions and delivering the programme locally. The best elements of previous programmes such as Troubled Families, the Better Care Fund and Total Place could be combined to create the programme and people with lived experience of multiple needs and the voluntary sector should be fully involved in its design.

The paper and executive summary are intended to support civil servants as they begin discussions around the next Spending Review and we look forward to working closely with them during this period.

Alongside this work, MEAM continues to support the growing national network of people committed to tackling multiple needs. Last month, we helped organise the National Summit on multiple needs, bringing together over 300 individuals from across the country.

Many who attended are involved in the MEAM Approach, which helps local areas design and deliver better coordinated interventions for people with multiple needs. And following the election, our Voices from the Frontline initiative will publish a new report setting out proposals for the next government developed by people with lived experience and the practitioners who support them.

If you would like to be involved in any aspect of this work, email and find out how you can work with us to create real change for people with multiple needs.