8 young people, aged 14 – 19, inspected supported housing provision for children in care across Dorset, October -December 2017. The recommendations continue to be followed up on and utilised well into 2018…
Ensuring young people have the right accommodation at the right time with the right staff will reduce anti-social behaviour, multiple placements and empower young people with the skills to stay in education or training for longer. Young Inspectors wanted to find out: What young people want from a supported housing service. What priorities are for young people and their importance. How organisations that deliver this service, listen to and act on the views of young people. How commissioners use the voice of young people to influence how services are delivered.
The biggest challenge we faced was asking difficult questions of managers, commissioners and staff. We found that the perception of an “inspection” for adults is that something is wrong. This makes it hard to find out statistics, facts and honest opinions from people we spoke to. The service providers, we inspected, were very different. Even though they were delivering to the same contract specification. This made it difficult to compare like with like.
We offered 3 options to get involved with this project: Take part in a focus group with others. Answer questions through an anonymous survey. Be interviewed 1-2-1 with a Young Inspector. This helped everyone get involved in a way that was comfortable for them. We also had Young Inspectors who had and hadn’t been in supported housing. This helped…
51 respondents 24 adults and 27 young people answered questions from 6 Young Inspectors. This is a high proportion of people who work for or use supported housing services. One young person commented that this was the first time someone had asked for her opinion on something more than what trouble she was getting into.
What has changed?
Following the Young Inspectors report, Dorset County Council has promised to: Involve young people in the commissioning and contract monitoring process of supported housing providers. Ensure there is fast Wi-fi is available in every property for every resident. Make sure supported housing is provided for young people in convenient and accessible locations for school, training, employment with good transport links. Provide a training flat for young people to learn independent living skills. Feed in their findings to a BIG funding bid designed to help young people in the South of England.