An interview with… Gerard Gudgion, Operational Manager – Early Help Service, Oldham City Council.

“Intraquest was inspired by personal challenge, renewed hope and transformation. With this we wholeheartedly believe there are no ‘hopeless people’, just people lacking hope!” JEN & KAREN


Which IntraQuest Training products have you experienced?
As part of my previous role as Operational Change Manager, Public Service Reform, I worked closely with IntraQuest to develop training for our new Troubled Families teams, specifically modules to address Engagement, Assessment and Action planning with Troubled Families.
Over time these modules have been refined and now form the core training for our new Early Help Service workers.
What difference has IntraQuest Training made to the performance and capability of your workforce?
IntraQuest’s approach to training has been very much based in the experience of, and the challenges faced by front line staff. Their practical knowledge of front line delivery, coupled with a comprehensive clinical understanding of the issues faced by both service users and workers shines through their practice and has given clear credibility to their training as evidenced by both the popularity of the courses and the self-reported change of behaviour of participants with service users.
What difference has this performance and capability improvement had on your organisation?
A key issue around public service reform is the disproportionate demand on services by traditionally hard to reach or the disengaged. In a project with GMP OLDHAM IntraQuest Engagement training has been given to PCSOs and Police Officers to help them better engage with problematic callers, who repeatedly call out the police and other emergency services to deal with a life crisis which does not involve crime. By changing the approach of professionals via the Engagement training we have been able to positively impact on the lives of people in crisis who would not normally present at mainstream services. This has helped to both reduce demand and start to change the culture of professionals.
As a result of this positive impact on service provision IntraQuest’s Engagement module has been made available to a wide range of services such as schools, GP surgeries, Housing workers, Youth workers etc.
What difference has this performance and capability improvement had on service users and the community?
As mentioned above, those service users who had relied on police callouts to manage crisis issues in their lives are now being engaged with differently. Workers are now able to engage in such a way as to be able to get to the underlying cause of the crisis and this is resulting in a significant reduction in demand on emergency services. The success of this engagement approach has driven the creation of an Early Help Offer in Oldham. The aim is to enable citizens of the borough to be able to help themselves, to be able to take back control of their lives and the lives of their families, to not become problem families but rather to become the productive, nurturing families who in turn will produce the next generations of families more able to look after themselves and less likely to need significant support from public services.
How has IntraQuest Training differed from other training you have experienced?
Traditionally training offered around problem families has tended to focus on specific problem issues, such as mental health, domestic violence, drug use etc. There are indeed many ‘off the shelf’ training products to address those single issue topics.
We were looking for a new way to work with families and it was clear that if we were expecting radical change in those families that we would need to radically change the workforce around them.
IntraQuest, is unique, in my experience, because they have combined an ability to look at the needs of both the service user from a very person centred approach whilst at the same time understanding the practical reality of being a professional in this field or work.
They recognise and cater for the very personal impact that ‘troubled family issues have on the families and the workers themselves. They provide viable solutions to achieve positive outcomes for families whilst at the same time strengthening the ability of workers to stay alongside those families in very difficult times.
In short, without this innovative approach we would not be able to build the early help service we aspire to, nor would the families we currently work with using this approach have experienced the positive outcomes becoming in control of their lives has brought.