Collaborative research

We are pleased to share a piece of work created with Matter of Focus. Matter of Focus is a company that helps organisations to look at how they support people to reach their goals.  

In 2018, we commissioned Matter of Focus to evaluate our service. This would support our learning and the ongoing development of Future Pathways.  

Since then, Matter of Focus have helped us to track, measure and report on our work. They help us to see the difference we make and where we can improve.  

Understanding our relationships  

The way someone experiences a service (and the feeling they have about this) plays a significant role in how the person benefits from the service. It is important, therefore, to make sure we build effective relationships that foster trust. It is not just about delivering a service, it is about the interaction between us and the people we support.  

Understanding the relationships between Future Pathways and the people we support is essential to how we learn. Matter of Focus created a simple framework which helps us to map a person’s journey of support. Through the framework, we consider: 

  • What we do 
  • Who with 
  • How they feel 
  • What they learn and gain 
  • What they do differently 
  • The difference it makes 

The framework helps us to think about our service, show where we are making a difference and highlight areas we can improve. It also prompts us to consider the relationships we build. For example, how we build trust and how people respond to us. It also helps us to think about how we can support people in their goals, by considering emotional or practical outcomes. 

The framework helps us identify additional context, like the person’s individual sphere (for example, values, habits and skills), their social sphere (such as networks, roles and relationships) and their material sphere (things like infrastructure, time or resources). Considering this additional context helps us to understand the diverse ways people experience Future Pathways. This, in turn, helps us to build and sustain relationships.  

What we learned 

The research showed how important it is for us to consider, talk about and understand the relationships we have. The evaluation approach from Matter of Focus has helped us clarify how Future Pathways make a difference. Their research also shows that establishing and maintaining trusting relationships with those we support is crucial to creating an environment where a path towards recovery becomes possible. In addition, by being able to use a framework that demonstrates evidence of outcomes, we have been able to make a stronger case for continued funding and ensure continuity for survivors.  

In short, this work has shown that it is not just what we do, but how we do it that gets results. This learning is essential for other services too – we encourage partners and organisations to place people’s experiences at the heart of improvement work.   

Collaborative research 

This piece of work by Matter of Focus looked at the issue of trust and how important this is to the people we work with and to our own staff. Focusing on this specific theme helped to show how the evaluation approach can shine a light on the relationship between Future Pathways and the people we support. It also helped to show how we adapted in response to the findings. 

Our collaborative piece has recently been published in  Evaluation and Programme Planning, an international journal hosted by Science Direct. 

You can find out more about the work and read the full paper on Matter of Focus website. 

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