Stasis to Stability (Jake Garber)

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A talk as part of the 'Lifting the lid on ethnographic research' for The Research Thing. http://www.meetup.com/researchthing/events/150350262/

In Buckinghamshire, a large partnership of state and voluntary agencies formed to find a new way of working together around families in crisis. They knew that despite a common mission to support vulnerable families, diverse agency priorities across the group had led to siloed working and fractured support.

We spent extended time with ten families to see the world from their perspective. To deepen our understanding, we used visual tools to map local areas, social relationships, timelines and moments of crisis.We discovered families held in stasis by services, rather than finding stability they could build on. As a result services were struggling to support families develop their own positive responses to crisis.

Presenting rich pictures of real families sparked different kinds of conversation and actions across the partnership. Co-designed solutions based on this research are currently being tested and implemented.

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  • Dave says we’ll turn these troubled families around!Buckinghamshire want to do something more sensitive…
  • How misaligned services end up holding families in crisisHow it takes a different perspective to see this and respond togetherWealthy county…ButMore than 12,500 children (11%) in Buckinghamshire now live in poverty - Department of Education6068 domestic violence incidents reported to the police in 2010/11, just over 1500 incidents involved children or happened with children in the house
  • Families struggling, locked in cycles of crisisServices holding families in stasis – no way outServices working to their own priorities, not contributing to wider aims (not in our remit)Staff frustrated at lack of impact and waste
  • Research with 10 families
  • Turning up in the morning to see the Farouk family, I thought I had gone to the wrong place…
  • Complicated family. 5 children + one new grandchild. Father in prison for armed robbery. Girls are high achievers. Boys are in trouble. Entrepreneurial spirit both sides of the law. Intense dynamics within the family.
  • Complicated family. 5 children + one new grandchild. Father in prison for armed robbery. Girls are high achievers. Boys are in trouble. Entrepreneurial spirit both sides of the law. Intense dynamics within the family.
  • Complicated family. 5 children + one new grandchild. Father in prison for armed robbery. Girls are high achievers. Boys are in trouble. Entrepreneurial spirit both sides of the law. Intense dynamics within the family.
  • Revealed a story of domestic abuse and violent behaviour. Business failure led to a downward spiral. Various support services not making the difference.
  • Not surprisingly when complex family units come into contact with a wide range of services issues of control and power are complicated. In our families the power balance between family members and between families and services was important. In some families a single family member controlled the family narrative and used that to manipulate services into certain actions against other family members. Other families organising their lives around huge numbers of appointments felt controlled by the state. Families responded with enthusiasm to services with which they had a shared vision and project.“He strangled me and told me it was not to leave any marks. I bit him to get him off and he called the police. I spent the night in a cell because they already believed I was mad.”Samina Farouk, p.30
  • This all led to a significant, unseen impact of depression, anxiety & stress. There may be unmet needs for counselling and other psychological support. Cycles of violence are repeating through children’s behaviour. The adults who do work cling desperately to their jobs as a temporary escape from the pressure of family life. Many of those who don’t work would love the chance if only their children were more settled. “I love my work. It’s my escape from all of this. I wish I could work full time but I can’t trust them … I come back and my house is wrecked. Both of them, when they are annoyed they will trash my house. Michael mainly doors […] kicked them in, punched them”.Mandy Jones, p.42
  • Clean house = no problems according to many services. They don’t have the tools or the time to form partnerships and get under the surface until its too late.
  • In many instances support for families focusses on managing crisis rather than building resilience or preventing deterioration. Often the support in our families was focussed on mitigating family behaviours rather than on building the capabilities for people to get out of crisis themselves. Focused services are more likely to deal with symptoms than root causes. “Our key worker was interested in us when we were living at home. When Dad kicked me and Nahar out when she was 15, it was like we didn’t need anything anymore, like we didn’t exist.”Nisita Farouk, p.30
  • What creates movement for families who are stuck?Trusted relationshipsSmall practical/tangible promises followed throughBeing listened to
  • Staff also trained in ethnography with powerful effectsThis is the DCS reading about the family she met
  • Stasis to Stability (Jake Garber)

    1. 1. STASIS TO STABILITY Stasis to Stability Jake Garber Service Designer Innovation Unit www.innovationunit.or g
    2. 2. Stasis to Stability
    3. 3. Image: © Ben Fisher/GAVI Alliance Troubled Families Stasis to Stability
    4. 4. Image: © UKgeofan Stasis to Stability
    5. 5. Image: © The Innovation Unit Disjointed support Stasis to Stability
    6. 6. 8 of the 10 7 of the 10 families 7 of the 10 families had have children involved in anti-social behaviour or in trouble with the law children who had been excluded from school, or were at risk of this 5 families 5 families from from Aylesbury area Wycombe area Image: © The Innovation Unit Stasis to Stability households are workless 5 families include members who are not white British 7 single mothers
    7. 7. Image: © Copyright Andrew Smith Stasis to Stability
    8. 8. Images: © The Innovation Unit Stasis to Stability
    9. 9. Images: © The Innovation Unit Stasis to Stability
    10. 10. Images: © The Innovation Unit Stasis to Stability
    11. 11. Image: © The Innovation Unit Stasis to Stability
    12. 12. Image: © The Innovation Unit Balance of control Stasis to Stability
    13. 13. Image: © The Innovation Unit Unmet psychological needs Stasis to Stability
    14. 14. Image: © The Innovation Unit Superficial judgement Stasis to Stability
    15. 15. Image: © The Innovation Unit Stasis mistaken for stability Stasis to Stability
    16. 16. Image: © The Innovation Unit Moving out of stasis Stasis to Stability
    17. 17. Image: © The Innovation Unit Stasis to Stability
    18. 18. Image: © The Innovation Unit Stasis to Stability
    19. 19. Image: © The Innovation Unit Stasis to Stability
    20. 20. Image: © The Innovation Unit Jake Garber Service Designer Innovation Unit www.innovationunit.or g Stasis to Stability

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