Organisations will probably need to achieve a change in their internal culture when embarking on a service user employment project.
The change in culture will consist of modifications and transformations to:
- Organisational structures
- Staff attitudes
- Support services to homeless people
Your organisation may need to:
- Negotiate with regulators, trustees and company members to revise your constitution and remove any restrictions
- Negotiate variations to contracts and funding agreements to remove restrictions
- Consider legal advice on the extent to which legislation permits positive discrimination in order to open up routes into employment
- Explore whether the employment of service users has an adverse effect on the organisation’s professional indemnity insurance
- Following an initial benchmarking exercise, develop a specific monitoring system to assess the progress of job applicants who are known to be current or former service users
- Revise restrictive recruitment practices including advertisements, job descriptions and person specifications (to focus on competencies rather than experience)
- Establish a communication plan with the aim of engaging staff in an on-going dialogue around the progress, benefits and difficulties involved in the employment of current and former service users.
- Challenge staff attitudes that currently reflect an ‘us and them’ approach
- Develop a plan on dealing with staff and organisational resistance to change
- Address staff concerns around confidentiality, professional boundaries and managing failure
- Create training, development, and employment-related support for service users
- Decide how to create goodwill and momentum towards the initiative
How did Thames Reach change its culture?
- Conducted a review of the organisation’s constitution, funding contracts, legal position and insurance polices to identify any restrictions relating to the employment of service users with the aim of removing restrictions.
No procedural or structural restrictions were identified in these areas, making the start of the GROW culture change relatively straightforward.
More information on each of these steps can be found by following the links on the left.