Shelter Cymru has launched a new measure of homelessness services to address the issues that people using services feel are the most important.
The ‘Equal Ground Measure‘ is a new way for local authorities to better understand the views of the people who use homelessness services.
It was developed with the involvement of more than 100 people with lived experience of homelessness and it asks the questions that people using services feel are important to them – not the questions that service providers might ‘assume’ are important.
The Measure, developed in partnership with Cardiff University, was developed for local authority homelessness services in Wales but is also said to be relevant for third sector services and those outside Wales.
Already a number of councils have pledged to take on the Measure – with Shelter Cymru’s aim to encourage more take-up in order to support services to drive up standards of customer service and user involvement.
On the announcement, Campaigns Manager Jennie Bibbings said: “While the Welsh Government collates homelessness statistics and many local authorities have their own customer satisfaction measures, the questions asked are always from the provider’s point of view.
“We wanted to create something that showed how effective services truly are. For example, the provider might decide that in a case homelessness has been prevented, but does the person using the service agree? These are the really important questions that need to be asked.”
Last year Shelter Cymru collaborated with two Welsh local authorities to trial the Measure.
One of these local authority stakeholders said: “The information gathered by the Measure is presented in a concise and very clear way, and helps give us a sense of how people feel about their experience in the round.
“It’s interesting that even in cases where people feel that their housing problems haven’t yet been resolved and give a negative verdict, they often give much more positive responses to the questions about their overall experience of using the service.
“It’s important to people that they feel supported, listened to, and treated with respect and that stays with them.”