Why we’re #AllIn for CoPro: ‘I’m very proud to be part of this’

Co-production Week is all about showcasing examples of CoPro, so let’s talk about All In For Change — a collective created four years ago to challenge the systems built up around homelessness.

The Change Team is made up of people with experience of homelessness, policymakers and frontline workers. If one definition of co-production is “combining everyone’s strengths to achieve positive change”, All In For Change is a great example of putting that principle into real action.

Since 2019 the team has been using its wide-ranging expertise to help achieve objectives set out in the Scottish Government-COSLA Ending Homelessness Together Action Plan.

Change Leads work with decision makers in local and national government to develop policy — one of its biggest successes has been developing prevention duties proposed for public bodies, intended to be written into law in the forthcoming Housing Bill.

Key aims of the programme, facilitated by Homeless Network Scotland, Cyrenians and Scottish Community Development Centre, are bringing about co-ordinated working between different services and ensuring support services take a person-centred approach.

To mark Scottish Co-Production Network’s #CoProWeekScot, Change Leads have shared their experiences of working as part of #AllInForChange — starting with Amanda Rutherford, an Engagement and Assessment worker at Crisis.

I became involved with the Change Team in Autumn 2021. I was intrigued by the concept that, as a frontline worker, I could be part of something that could make a difference to homelessness in Scotland.  Change Leads bring different experiences and knowledge to the table from across the country.

The way the Change Team was created results in an equal and level playing field so that everyone, regardless of their background, has a voice and their opinion is respected. 

Mutual respect and being open to learning leads to a positive environment which enables co-production and lively debate. This has led to ideas, such as ‘Ask and Act’, being introduced to the Scottish Parliament as part of the upcoming Housing Bill — a direct result of collaboration within the Change Team.

Co-production brings real benefits to ending homelessness in that those who see the reality of homelessness in Scotland on a day-to-day basis can influence government policy. The Change Team are an incredible team who work well together, and I am very proud to be part of this.

The All In For Change team’s successes and future priorities are set out in this evaluation of the programme’s first three years.

A new era for All In For Change as 14 new members join

Ginny Cooper, Change Lead at Homeless Network Scotland.

This week we welcomed 14 new members to the Change Team. As I hovered my mouse over the ‘Admit all’ button in our Teams virtual meeting I couldn’t help but feel a little apprehensive. Before everything went online, we would make people feel welcome through eye contact, body language and offering them a cup of tea. On screen it is much harder to gage how people are feeling. But, as the new faces began to pop up on my screen, smiles and awkward waves were exchanged and I knew I didn’t have anything to worry about.

All in for Change is led by a Change Team of people from across Scotland committed to ending homelessness. Every Change Lead brings unique knowledge to the team. Experts in what homelessness looks like within their networks for the people who are most affected, they bridge the gap between policy, planning and action on the ground.

The team was formed in December 2019 and had only just got established when the pandemic changed everything. After a busy 18 months the Change Team continue to play a major part in helping shape homelessness policy and practice, including the Scottish Government’s updated Ending Homelessness Together Action Plan.

The team use clear language and an open and accessible, collaborative working approach to bridge the gap between decision makers, people working in services and people making use of services, as part of a joined-up effort to end homelessness in Scotland.

As with any coproduction process, the group have embraced their different perspectives and experiences and have been ironing out the details as the programme evolves. But few could have predicted just how flexible the team would become – adapting to remote working online, taking on fast moving and rapidly evolving priorities caused by the pandemic.

Over the summer, and as part of the All in for Change (AIFC) programme, the Change Team has been talking to people from across Scotland to learn from their experiences as part of a national conversation. People who see how decisions made around homelessness look in everyday life. People who want to share how they think change can really happen. Responses will feed into a report presented to the Scottish Government.

To get involved in the national conversation simply complete an online survey here, download our starter conversation here or sign up for one of our interactive workshops, the next one is 11 August and you can sign up here.​

New roles ramp up Lived Experience to resolve Homelessness

During a question & answer session at the Homeless Network Scotland conference in March then Housing Minister, Kevin Stewart MSP, was asked what made Scotland’s response to homelessness different. The Minister’s response was instantaneous – ‘People’.

Among the most active independent people working to ensure the right solutions are put in place has been the Change Team. Collectively, team members form All In For Change, a group comprising individuals working in the sector along with those who have their own lived experience of being homeless, drawn from across Scotland. This unique arrangement means the big issues can be viewed from multiple perspectives at the same time and in the same space. The kaleidoscope of views and opinions this process cultivates makes sure those who know the answers are helping to shape solutions. Homeless Network Scotland created this platform for people in partnership with Cyrenians and Scottish Community Development Centre.

The Change Team are experts in what homelessness looks like on the ground for those most affected by it, which is why they have a seat at the table on the Homelessness Prevention and Strategy Group. The combination of practical and professional experience has been valuable in helping to shape important work taking place under pressure during the pandemic. Members have also contributed to longer term decision making and policy setting in connection to the work of the Everyone Home Collective and the Prevention Review Group, which reported in the spring.

Building from the impact All In For Change has had during the past 18 months, the Scottish Government committed in the Housing to 2040 paper to create an exciting opportunity for one person with current or previous experience of homelessness to join its Homelessness Unit on secondment for up to two years. The post is called a ‘Policy Officer’ and is a full-time, paid position. Applications close this Sunday 20 June at 4pm.

The post holder will work with colleagues across the Homelessness Unit and with the Change Team to deliver commitments in the Ending Homelessness Together action plan, such as preventing homelessness from happening in the first place, improving temporary accommodation standards, supporting the shift to rapid rehousing and understanding housing affordability.

The Change Team will continue to play a major part in helping to shape homelessness policy and practice, including the Scottish Government’s updated Ending Homelessness Together Action Plan. With this in mind, the team is looking to expand and in addition to the opportunity above is recruiting for people with lived experience to take forward this important agenda as a Change Team member.

The team use clear language and an open working approach to bridge the gap between decision makers, people working in services and people making use of services as part of a joined-up drive to end homelessness in Scotland.

Change Leads with experience of homelessness are paid at Real Living Wage of £9.50 per hour for work carried out on behalf of All In For Change, around two hours per week is invited. Click here for details and to apply. The Scottish Government role is a paid, full time secondment of 37 hours per week. For further information about that post, please contact Janice Higgins at Homeless Network Scotland on JHiggins@homelessnetwork.scot and email completed applications to Janice by 4pm on Sunday 20 June 2021 – the application closing date for both roles.

Are you All In For Change?

All in for Change (AIFC) is a programme led by a ‘Change Team’ who each have personal experience of homelessness and together are committed to ending it. As part of a National Conversation starting today the Change Team are speaking to, and learning from, people who see first-hand how policy and operational decisions affect real lives. The responses received will inform future conversations, both internally and when speaking with decision makers.

Jade Wallace has been part of the AIFC programme since it started, and said:

“At times, change can seem slow, and I think it is important to reflect and remind ourselves that slowly but surely a difference is being made.

“For so long homelessness has been viewed as solely a housing issue and I think this is a great opportunity to engage with and inform as many people as possible, to hear different experiences, viewpoints and share what we know works.”

The Change Team was established in late 2019 and they have contributed directly to decision making with a permanent presence at Scotland’s Homelessness Prevention & Strategy Group (HPSG). There are four New Directions that guide the team’s work. These reflect Scotland’s high level Ending Homelessness Together Plan, and they are People First; No Wrong Door; At Home; Good Vibes.

Taking these four New Directions as a guide the team are asking the following questions.

  • Has progress been made in achieving these?
  • If so, where and how are they being achieved?
  • If not, in what ways could they be achieved?
  • What gets in the way of them being achieved?

Jade Wallace added:

“The New Direction I like best is ‘At Home’. I truly believe that settled, secure, mainstream housing provided quickly is the best possible solution for people experiencing homelessness. I fully support the Housing First model, and I have seen first-hand the multiple benefits of ensuring people are provided with a secure home when they need it.”

The quickest way to get involved in the National Conversation is to complete the quick online survey, adding your experiences to our growing knowledge base, or even sharing the link with someone else. Other ways to take part are by downloading our conversation starter and having a chat with someone you work with, or support, and by joining a workshop led by the Change Team and talking with others to help grow change.

The Change Team are supported by partner organisations, Cyrenians, Frontline Network, Homeless Network Scotland and the Scottish Community Development Centre (SCDC) and is represented on the Scottish Government’s Homelessness Prevention & Strategy Group (HPSG).

For more information visit the All In For Change page.