Wednesday, 25 June 2014

Voices from the Frontline: does your organisation support people with multiple needs?

We need the help of the drug and alcohol sector in shaping an important programme of work around people with multiple needs, and helping us to understand the impact of welfare reform and commissioning changes on this group. 

If your organisation works with clients who, as well as drug and alcohol problems, also experience problems such as homelessness, mental health and involvement with the criminal justice system, please spend 10-15 minutes completing our survey. Please note that the survey will close on 11 July. 

Voices from the Frontline 

"We want to have some control over our next steps. We want choices" 

Over the next two years the Making Every Adult Matter (MEAM) coalition will be delivering Voices from the Frontline, a project to bring the voices of people with multiple needs and those who support them to the heart of the policy debate. The group of service users this project will seek to represent are those: 

  • Experiencing several problems at the same time such as mental ill health, homelessness, drug and alcohol misuse, offending and family breakdown;
  • With ineffective contact with services; and 
  • Living chaotic lives.

Membership survey 

To start the project, the coalition partners, DrugScope, Mind, Clinks and Homeless Link, are surveying our member organisations to try and understand how two policy areas, access to services (commissioning changes) and access to benefits (welfare reform), are impacting on those with the most complex needs. 

We chose these two topics because they came up time and again in the sector surveys carried out by the MEAM coalition partners. For example, in the research we did for DrugScope’s State of the Sector report, one complex needs service manager told us: 

"I know of people who have been repeatedly cut off from benefits in the
 middle of serious physical and mental health problems and treatments, 
whose cases have gone to court or tribunal repeatedly, and repeated 
judgements in court say that they should not have been cut off.” 

This survey is our first step in building a picture of how these important changes to services and support are seen by people with multiple needs and by those working with them most closely. The findings will inform our work over the next two years, which will help policy makers nationally and locally shape policy both in the run up to the general election and beyond. 

What to do next 

If your organisation works with multiple needs clients, this is your opportunity to help us understand the situation in the areas you work in. Please spend 10-15 minutes helping us by completing the survey. The survey will close on 11 July. 

If you have any questions about the survey, or would like to find out more about the project, contact Sam Thomas (, who is managing Voices from the Frontline.

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