Life after Britain’s 50 New Radicals
2012 Britain’s New Radical Angela Morgan on the increased responsibility that came with Includem’s boost in recognition:
Here at Includem, we choose to work with Scotland’s most chaotic and vulnerable young people, who do not “fit” into mainstream services, yet are those who most need help.
Our experience tells us that there is a social, moral, and fiscal case for not giving up on these most challenging young people. Our first principle is that no young person is beyond help.
Includem was set up 13 years ago to provide specialist intensive support to these young people (and their families), which anticipates their chaos and resistance to working with us and provides each of them with an individualised persistent approach, taking the service to them wherever they are, at times of most need - 24/7, 365 days of the year.
We are not a charity with a “cuddly” image and indeed have very strict standards on when we will approach a young person for a media request. We work primarily to provide contracted services to statutory bodies and do not fundraise from the public which would subsidise state services. So we have previously not been as well-known as we feel we deserve!
Yet like any other charity in competition for funds we need to communicate effectively, raise our profile and reputation, market our niche and success, developing respect for both what we do and for the young people we work with.
“We still don’t know who nominated us for Britain’s New Radicals.”
So it was fantastic for us, when out of the blue (we still don’t know who nominated us and when I got the call to say we were in the 50 I thought it was a hoax!) we received the recognition as one of Britain’s 50 New Radicals in 2012.
Of course with raised recognition comes raised expectation – which for us means continuing to improve what we do and continuing to innovate – indeed including innovating on how to measure improvement in delivery of human services. As chief executive of an organisation which delivers services one-to-one in communities at all times of night and day I cannot “walk the floor” and see how our “customers” are being treated or how they are responding. Or if I do that I immediately change the dynamic of the relationship – the cornerstone of our successful impact.
So we have been creating a fantastic integrated loop to maximise feedback, develop hard edged quantitative ways to track our performance and use technology effectively to continue to test and challenge ourselves wherever we can do better.
Lest this sound mechanistic I hasten to add that having read the horrifying summary of the Mid Staffs hospital report (as no organisation in any sector is too small to lose its way…) my constant mantra is: Number one – deliver the service. Number two – account for that delivery using the technology and the human support systems. NOT: get the numbers up to please Head Office.
A great opportunity for us was at an event in Scotland during the year of our recognition when Nesta provided an opportunity for us and some other recognised individuals and organisations to showcase to a wide ranging audience.
A three minute presentation slot certainly focuses the mind and cuts out the flannel. It was enough to gain attention from some key influencers leading to further opportunities which even now continue to play through.
Inspired, Creative, Pioneering. Words from the front page of the Observer when the Nesta awards were announced, now framed in a montage on my office wall – and a fantastic reminder that to keep true to Includem’s mission and to our choice to work with Scotland’s most chaotic and vulnerable young people these are the standards by which to continue to measure ourselves.