Family Psychology Mutual, a staff-led mutual social enterprise, delivers evidence-based interventions to the families of young people with antisocial behaviour. Such interventions include MST (Multi-Systemic Therapy), an alternative to out of home placement that allows highly challenging young people to remain with their families with intensive in-home family therapy services and 24/7 on-call support. This team, whilst part of Cambridgeshire County Council Children’s Services, brought the practice of MST to the UK and has a strong track record of establishing and sustaining interventions with adolescents. We believe this framework has the potential for wider national rollout.
The team leading this venture have a proven track record of delivering highly successful evidence-based psychological services to families in Cambridgeshire; indeed the founders were Sector Advisers for the Department of Health on MST interventions and worked with a number of teams across the country. The inevitable impact of the enormous financial cuts being made by local authorities led the team to consider ways to ensure the sustainability of their service. With all the evidence pointing to their approach being cost effective in the long run, yet aware that local authority budget holders have to make decisions based on short-term visions, they needed an alternative option.
“We were aware of staff-led mutuals evolving from other local authorities and NHS departments and Tom began to make inquiries. Encouraged by the Cabinet Office Mutual Service we came on the Cambridge Social Ventures weekend and were delighted to be accepted into the cohort and very much looking forward to the next stage of our evolution,” advises co-founder Brigitte Squire.
“The idea is to set up a mutual company, taking two evidence based MST teams out of the local authority and expanding the business in the future by becoming a service provider and also consultant to evidence-based interventions for adolescents at the edge of care wider afield. To fund our development we will use social impact bonds where appropriate,” Brigitte explains further.
- Tom Jefford, Head of Youth Services at Cambridgeshire County Council
Tom is an experienced social care leader with significant knowledge of MST and implementation practice. Tom and Brigitte Squire set up MST CAN for Child Abuse and Neglect as a four-year clinical trial in Cambridgeshire as part of a transportability trial. They also developed another clinical variant, MST PSB (problematic sexual behaviour) as a four Authority partnership. He sits on the national evidence-based interventions board and also the START Trial Research Committee. He is currently undertaking a professional doctorate at Anglia Ruskin University, researching the implementation of evidence-based practice.
- Brigitte Squire, MBE
Brigitte is a Consultant Clinical Psychologist and Systemic Therapist, seconded to Cambridgeshire County Council as MST Programme Director leading the MST Services group, consisting of five teams. For the past 12 years Brigitte has driven the commissioning and progression of MST within the Cambridgeshire County Council. She is leading on three MST adaptations for specialist client groups: serious adolescent substance abuse; child abuse and neglect and adolescent sexual problem behaviour. She was a Sector Advisor for the Department of Health, assisting in setting up new similar teams in the UK.
- Preserve existing quality, quantity and content of services to Cambridgeshire county council in an efficient and sustainable way.
- Create continuing employment for two teams, each comprising one supervisor and three to four MST workers.
- Remain Programme Manager for the two MST teams in Northampton.
- Expand delivery of MST (and other evidence-based) services to Cambridgeshire County Council and other local authorities looking at edge of care services.
- Develop a parental/adult evidence-based mental health service with good quality assurance to fulfil the need for home-based support for the families of young people in care – a therapeutic service supporting the whole family in a systemic way.
- Identify further gaps in service provision; develop and deliver professional, systemic, evidence-based therapeutic programmes to meet evolving social needs.