In this blog, one of the authors of Solutions from the Frontline, Nicola Drinkwater, explains how we approached producing the report.
Through the first round of workshops we held for Voices from the Frontline in October 2014, we developed a good sense of some of the problems impacting people with multiple needs and were therefore keen to explore the solutions to these problems.
To do this, during April 2015 we encouraged people at services across the country to start conversations about what the next government could do to support people with multiple needs.
We created a workshop toolkit and accompanying facilitation guide which the team and local services used to run the workshops. The toolkit provided information about what policy making is, who is involved and how policy is made. We recognise that these issues are complex and we were keen that they were covered in detail to ensure participants had the knowledge to enable them to determine where they think policy change needs to occur. The toolkit then went on to ask participants to share their own experiences and what, in an ideal world, would be in place to support people experiencing multiple needs.
In creating the workshop toolkit, we were conscious that we wanted the discussions to focus on solutions, which would support us with the formulation of recommendations to government. We were also concerned not to be too prescriptive and encouraged facilitators to ask open-ended questions, enabling us to get a true picture of the issues that were most important to the attendees. We also designed the toolkit in such a way to encourage people to start with their own experiences and explore what has worked for them, before developing their ideas to think about where else this ‘good practice’ could be applied.
Where the workshops took place
A total of eight workshops, that heard the views of over 50 people, were held across the country, five of which were supported by facilitators from the MEAM policy team. The conversations took place in a range of settings – one took place during a breakfast drop-in, another during a regular meeting of an experts by experience forum, whilst others were convened specially.
We received a vast range of information from the workshops, which the VFTF team analysed thematically. We then held a discussion with ten participants drawn from different areas, where together we explored the ideas that had been discussed, and developed them further to create a set of recommendations.