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MSB recruits and trains people with personal experience of long term physical or mental health condition as Support Brokers to help customers source plan and manage their care and support.

What CSAIF funded: View the full impact evaluation report and research data and analysis report.

About the evaluation

Level on Standards: Level 2 - they have captured data that shows positive change, but they cannot confirm they caused this.

Evaluator: The McPin Foundation

Aim: Through its evaluation, MySupportBroker intends to explore how peer support brokerage impacts on the wellbeing of MSB customers.

Key findings:

  1. Qualitative findings showed that support plans were tailored to individual customer needs and interests, and produced an improvement in wellbeing, mostly through enabling customers to have greater control over their support arrangements by directly employing support assistants. There was evidence of a positive impact on the wellbeing of wider family as a result of good quality support plans.
  2. Quantitative findings from the evaluation suggest that in general, customers are not as isolated to begin with as may be assumed. The majority had someone they could talk to or turn to in distress most of the time. This is significant in asset-based brokerage as it indicates that many people are able to draw on their existing networks for support. This is an important tenet of the MSB brokerage model.
  3. Customers described support brokers having excellent interpersonal skills, listening carefully to customers, and showing them dignity and respect. It is not clear to what extent lived experience plays a role in the development of the support planning and these interpersonal skills. What is clear from the data is that this ‘human to human’ interaction was valuable and resulted in support plans that had an impact on customer well-being and perceptions of control of their own support.

Methodology:

Method: MySupportBroker carried out a total of 35 semi-structured interviews for the evaluation: 17 MSB customers or family carers; 7 peer support brokers; 6 local authority staff; and 5 MSB staff working at a strategic level. An initial pre-/post- evaluation using the Warwick-Edinburgh Mental Well-being scale was abandoned due to ethical issues.

Why this Level: Whilst the evaluation has no pre-post data – the primary criteria for Level 2 – this is justifiably explained in terms of ethical concerns. And the qualitative approach that was undertaken instead has a number of key strengths: a) a good number of interviews, b) a robust sampling method, c) a robust and transparent analysis approach, d) a good number of direct quotes (to minimise interpreter bias), e) quantitative reference to how common the different themes were, and f) openness about some of the less positive findings / constructive feedback on the programme.

About the evidence journey

Progress: This robust qualitative evaluation has significantly deepened MySupportBroker’s evidence of impact. It has also given lots of insights and recommendations on improving the implementation of the model going forward.

Lessons learned:

Conventional research approaches need to be adapted in line with person centred approaches if they are to be applied effectively and ethically in health and social care contexts where people have complex sets of personal experiences.

Next steps:

To develop customer centric evaluation measures that can be used for customers to self-measure their progress over time and rate to what extent they feel MSB impacted on that progress.