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The Cranstoun Group joins digital channels

We’re excited to announce Swanswell has joined Cranstoun’s website and social media channels.

Swanswell became part of the Cranstoun Group in December 2016. By joining the two charities in this exciting partnership, we consolidated our operations and shared our knowledge and experience to enhance and develop high-quality services for service users, their families, and the wider community.

Service users have always been at the heart of both organisations and our shared vision, mission and values reflect this strengthening the Cranstoun Group for the future.

Now is the right time to join digital channels; the Cranston Group can communicate with key audiences more effectively and develop online support and resources for service users.

Access Swanswell’s new online home at cranstoun.org/swanswell

Co-production is more than a concept – it’s a core strategic aim

Co-production is more than a concept – it’s a core strategic aim Cranstoun

Wendy Taylor, Director of Operations
Co-production is more than a concept – it’s a core strategic aim Cranstoun

Co-production is the coming together of two sides of the same coin – service users and providers – to improve existing services and develop new ones. It is the meeting of ideas that respect the diverse experiences of those involved by creating an environment of equal partnership.

So what does that mean in practice? Co-production goes far beyond consultation and therefore must inform and challenge providers’ beliefs and values. It can also challenge the value service users place on their personal experience and knowledge, in the hope that it is not only recognised but also put to far greater use.

Providers need to believe that to deliver services people want to use, they must involve service users at every level of delivery, from design to evaluation. In turn, service users need to believe that their experience and input is vitally important in providing good quality services.

In my experience, staff are usually very open to co-production and embrace its main principle of an equal partnership with service users. Others can be resistant, nervous about embarking on a different kind of relationship with service users.

Cranstoun’s approach is to ensure all staff understand the benefits of co-production and how it differs to service user participation. It is worth reading this comprehensive report which includes good examples of co-production.

Providing training on co-production creates strong leadership throughout the organisation. To establish a consistent approach, we have reviewed all organisational governance processes to ensure service users are involved in service development and decision-making at all levels.

Service users may be familiar with sharing their story with others, but co-producing services means articulating and using their experience differently. Using lived experience to influence service delivery is a skill in itself and one that needs nurturing with the right support and guidance. Providing mentoring support is key to getting service users involved.

Supporting service users in this way is as important as getting buy-in from staff teams. Both are required to change the culture of the organisation, which, along with organisational structures that allow equal partnerships, creates an environment where co-production can flourish.

However, it’s easy to be complacent. To ensure success, there must also be an open and honest review process built into the system; any learning should inform continuous improvement, and so the cycle continues.

Co-production is a no-brainer. The resource it takes to set up and deliver is far outweighed by improved service user outcomes, making the gains for everyone immeasurable. Now that’s got to be worth it.

Resilience rated ‘Good’ in latest CQC report

We’re delighted to announce Resilience, our substance misuse service in Windsor and Maidenhead, has received an overall ‘Good’ CQC rating.

The CQC inspection team carried out a thorough assessment of several aspects of the service, including looking at the quality of the environment, speaking to service users, staff, volunteers and commissioners, looking at records, policies and procedures, and attending a group therapy session.

Our people are at the heart of what we do, so we are particularly pleased about the following feedback:

We spoke with five clients during our inspection. All spoke highly of the service and praised the support they received from staff. Clients felt that staff treated them with kindness, dignity and respect. They told us that staff were non-judgemental and that this encouraged them to be open and honest with staff and that they felt they could trust them. Clients we spoke with all attended groups at the service, which they unanimously agreed had a positive impact on their lives and helped aid their recovery. Clients told us they met with their key workers frequently and that they felt involved in their care planning.

Geena Virdi, service manager at Resilience, said, “The CQC report has been a delight for myself and my team at Resilience. We are all proud of the service that we deliver and this report reinforces the hard work, determination and responsive attitude of our service and organisation. It was humbling to read how supported and safe our service users feel when accessing the support we offer, as well as the healthy workplace culture within our team. Will continue this hard work and strive to develop our service moving forward. I’d like to say a big thank you to the Resilience team for working as hard as they do on a daily basis and making positive changes in the lives of our service users.”

Read the full report here.

Investing in care, quality and governance

Investing in care, quality and governance Cranstoun

Jason Warriner, Director of Care, Quality and Governance
Investing in care, quality and governance Cranstoun Investing in care, quality and governance Cranstoun

When talking about quality and governance, one of my most frequent sayings is, ‘show me an organisation that claims to have no incidents and no complaints and I will show you a failing organisation’. To me, if an organisation claims the above, it speaks volumes about its leadership, culture, processes and systems.

A culture of openness, transparency and learning ensures the safety of service users and staff alongside the provision of high quality and effective care. An organisational and integrated approach to governance and safety is vital.  Separating governance into silos can cause duplication, build in unnecessary processes and hinder the sharing of learning and feedback. Looking back over the last 25 years when clinical governance was a key driver in the NHS, we probably didn’t realise at the time that this would pave the way for today’s ways of working and approaches to safety and quality.

When you look at the charity sector it can feel at times that we are over-regulated; we have the Charity Commission, CQC and Information Commissioner’s Office to name a few. Understanding the roles of these organisations and why they exist is key to ensuring compliance and consistency across the sector.

Over the last year, a few of our services have been inspected by the CQC. We are consistently receiving positive feedback and ratings of ‘good’. This confirms to us that we are providing safe, effective, caring and well-led services that respond to individual needs.

There are many different views on whether inspection works. For us, it’s about using inspections and associated feedback as an opportunity to develop and improve. Ensuring that we promote privacy, dignity and respect are the fundamentals of care. The CQC is here to stay, and an external view can provide us with a reality check to make sure we are doing what we say and safeguarding the needs of our service users.

At Cranstoun, we believe that governance should enable innovation, service development and service improvement. The quality and governance team is a support service, working in partnership across the organisation to ensure that we do the best for our service users. Governance should never be used to hinder or prevent change or as a reason not to do something – it is about driving things forward in a way that promotes collaboration, learning and visible leadership.

During the next year, our quality, governance and safety agenda will continue to grow and evolve. Energising our approach to quality, safety and governance alongside demonstrating compassionate leadership will drive our work forward enabling us to meet any challenges on the horizon. Our focus is not only on meeting the requirements of regulatory bodies but taking the next steps in our journey to provide the best services possible for people who need them the most.

Stocktaking and adaptation – it’s all part of the process

Stocktaking and adaptation – it’s all part of the process Cranstoun

Peter Glass, Executive Director of Operations

We recently, as we often do, took stock of Cranstoun’s whole-system integrated services. ‘Stocktaking’ is part of ongoing performance management and development, a continual process applied throughout the lifetime of any contract. Even with this mature and robust framework in place, general reporting cycles of KPIs or outcome and output data can fail to recognise some of the more macro aspects of delivering whole-system services, as well as the wider panacea of service evolution, often spanning up to five years. This is one of the reasons Cranstoun developed and continues to refine its Mobilisation, Implementation, Transformation, Exit (MITE) framework, a tool within our governance structure that considers wider operational aspects linked to service development.

While integrated services contain common core elements, each offers individualised, unique aspects that are significant both in the immediate locality and in relation to building an extensive collection of ‘what works best’. For example, in our countywide service across Worcestershire, which covers both rural and urban populations, the latest (Q4) NDTMS completions report shows significant improvement since the contract started on 1 April 2015:

  • Opiates improved from 4.8% to 8.5%
  • Non-opiates improved by 21%
  • Alcohol improved by 22%

Since implementation, PHE data analysis shows the following improvements in numbers accessing in-house Hep C treatment:

  • A substantial reduction in ‘did not attends’ (90+% to 20%)
  • An increase in treatment numbers (0 p/month to 3 p/month)
  • A reduction in test-to-treatment time (12 weeks+ to 8 weeks)

Since embedding the shared care service across Worcestershire, the service has seen an increase of 32% in prescribed clients accessing shared care.

In its 50th year, Cranstoun remains a leader in the sector; we have learnt a lot from our wide-ranging current and historical portfolios. While our approach will always be to learn and evolve, each service we manage assumes a local focus, seeking to co-produce, partner and complement local strategic and operational plans, systems and processes. Demography and geography are perhaps obvious factors within the planning and delivery for each service, but it’s when we start to consider other layers of overall operational and support requirements that we see a more representative picture of the sheer complexity of the task at hand.

People who use our services often present with a range of issues – homelessness, significant physical and mental health problems, contact with the criminal justice system, debt, to name a few. Indeed the whole sector has witnessed higher levels of presenting complexity over the last ten to 15 years. What particularly strikes me is how, despite deep and enduring financial constraints, there is sustained momentum to continually strive to improve and try new and innovative approaches.

Cranstoun’s Brighton and Hove service, Pavilions represents an excellent, real multi-agency partnership where Cranstoun is the lead organisation. Examples include:

  • Prescription collection – we have changed the culture from one where clients collected their prescription from pharmacies to collecting it from Pavilions. 70% of clients engaged better with one to one appointments than previously.
  • Mobile needle exchange – by providing needle exchange on the streets we have doubled engagement rates of the number of people rough sleeping and using the night shelter who have entered treatment as a result of a needle exchange interaction over the past nine months.
  • Peer-led group work – the totally peer-led ‘Speakeasy’ group is an excellent example of co-production, running five days per week with 65 regular attendees.

There are similar threads across all of Cranstoun’s services, with many excellent illustrations of how our provision evolves. By utilising co-production as a cornerstone of design and by ensuring relevancy and flexibility with built-in review periods, we create an environment that accommodates an adaptive and dynamic development process.

Annual Service User Survey 2018-19

We carried out our annual service user survey across Cranstoun Group services from December 2018 to February 2019. The survey was open to all service users in any type of treatment, from drop-in attendees to service users in long-term structured treatment.

We received 1348 responses across 15 services, including seven adult community substance misuse services, four young peoples’ community substance misuse services, one residential service, one supported housing service, one family and carers service and one family and carers team.

Here are a few of the key results:

The highest scoring question was on staff friendliness (9.6/10).
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The most commonly given score was 10 out of 10.
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Service users find our most helpful treatments/activities to be key work sessions, group sessions and prescribing.
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The most common positive outcomes experienced by our service users are abstinence, less use, and prescription.
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The top three words used to describe Cranstoun services were safe, happy and supported.
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97.7% of service users said they would recommend their service.


In response to the survey, we also received some fantastic feedback from our service users:

All I wish to say is please keep going, as there are so many others needing help out there. I’ve still got a long way to go as well – it’s a life saver. Good luck to all the staff and the organisation. We need you.

– East Sussex FACT

Just a big thank you!! West Hill has given me back safety and security, plus my independence. I’m looking forward to working on my problems positively and overcoming them, and becoming a clean and well-balanced working member of society!

– West Hill & Ritherdon Road

Thank you so much. You’re all very professional, understanding, knowledgeable and emphathetic. An amazing service.

– Pavilions FACT

I feel very grateful to have had this opportunity for change. Thank you for being in my life.

– Inspire Sutton

Thank you for saving my life and for the love that I feel coming here, which is very important when you’re lonely.

– Swanswell West Berkshire

Click here to read the full service user survey report.

Cranstoun’s residential detoxification service, City Roads – an announcement

It is with deep regret that, after 40 years of operation, Cranstoun is announcing the proposed closure of City Roads, our London based detoxification unit.

This decision has been reached after a prolonged review period, where Cranstoun has continually sought solutions to the longstanding problem of ongoing disinvestment for this type of provision. For over ten years, Cranstoun’s trustees have agreed to support the unique and valuable City Roads service and have funded any deficits arising. Unfortunately, the financial position has deteriorated such that the service is no longer considered sustainable.

City Roads has served residents of London and the Home Counties for many years, both as a crisis intervention unit, and more recently as a high care detoxification facility for alcohol and drug users with enduring and complex needs. Indeed, the decision to close comes at a time when there remains a high level of need for this type of provision. Despite this, diminishing resources have consistently reduced referrals below the level required to support the ongoing operation.

In making this announcement, we wish to acknowledge the dedication and commitment of our current and previous staff groups and volunteers, who have worked tirelessly for the betterment of people’s lives, in what is truly inspiring ‘front end provision’. Additionally, we wish to recognise the efforts and courage of all people who have used the service as a platform for stabilisation, and recovery.

The proposed closure date is projected to be the 10th of May, with admissions being accepted until the 15th of April.

For any further information or clarification, please contact:

Peter Glass, Executive Director – Operations pglass@cranstoun.org.uk
Niamh Donnelly, Director of Operations ndonnelly@cranstoun.org.uk

Pavilions rated ‘Good’ in latest CQC report

We’re delighted to announce Pavilions, our substance misuse service in Brighton, has received an overall ‘Good’ CQC rating.

The CQC inspection team carried out a thorough assessment of several aspects of the service, including looking at the quality of the physical environment, speaking to service users and staff, looking at records, policies and procedures, and observing a group therapy session.

Our people are at the heart of what we do, so we are particularly pleased about the following feedback:

Staff demonstrated a kind, compassionate approach during their interactions with clients. They treated clients with dignity and respect. Staff consistently spoke with and about clients in a sensitive, caring and professional manner. We saw staff interacting positively with clients, appearing to be responsive and respectful. Staff demonstrated a genuine interest in client wellbeing and understood the needs of each client. 

Clients we spoke with praised staff for their care, professionalism and non-judgemental attitude. All clients that we spoke with were complimentary about the staff and overwhelmingly positive about the service. Clients were involved in making decisions about their care.

Hélène Begg, City Manager for Pavilions, said, “I’m delighted that our staff were complimented in our CQC report and that our innovative solutions to working with rough sleepers and increasing employment opportunities for clients have all been noted in the report. We will continue to work on developing our practice following the inspection and will work towards an ‘Outstanding’ rating for their next visit.”

Read the full report here.

CQC rates Swanswell services ‘Good’ in all areas

We’re delighted to announce our Swanswell Worcestershire service has received an overall ‘Good’ CQC rating at two of its locations following recent inspections: Kidderminster and Worcester.

Service users told the CQC that staff treated them respectfully and with dignity, and they were involved in their own care. They felt they were listened to and both service users and the people who care for them were provided with relevant information and support to manage their recovery.

Jason Warriner, Cranstoun’s Director of Care, Quality and Governance, said, “We are pleased that the CQC report highlights our commitment to providing high quality and safe services. The ratings we received across all areas show how we respond to the individual needs of our clients and help them to make positive changes to their lives.”

Read the full Swanswell Worcester report.
Read the full Swanswell Kidderminster report.

50 years of Cranstoun

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2019 is a special year for us – we’re proud to have been empowering people to live healthy, safe and happy lives for 50 years.

In 1969, it was our founders responding to local needs that established Cranstoun House, a residential community for people in recovery. We’ve adapted and evolved over the past five decades, and we have our incredible service users, staff and volunteers – past and present – to thank for our journey so far.

We’ll be celebrating our achievements and the people who make us who we are over the course of this year, and there’ll be lots of opportunities for you to join us.