The GROW Steering Group was set up in July 2005, with the aim of providing the necessary leadership and coordination for the project.
Members of the group included:
- The Director of Operations (Chair)
- The Director of Street and Hostel Services
- The Human Resources Manager
- The GROW Project Manager
The Steering Group provided essential support to the GROW project manager, monitored the progress of the project and helped trouble-shoot issues as they arose, such as:
- Reviewing and revising policies and procedures
- Dealing with resistance to the project
- Monitoring the traineeships
- Issues surrounding Criminal Records – for instance, we looked into the question of whether to employ a Schedule One Sex Offender. Interestingly, when the group reviewed the organisation’s existing Criminal Records policy, it found that it was sufficient as it stood.
Since service user employment has been well integrated, there is little need for senior management involvement and the GROW Steering Group has therefore stopped meeting. Issues around service user employment are now taken forward at service or departmental level.
While Thames Reach no longer requires senior management direction on user employment, we would recommend that other organisations consider setting up a Steering Group for the initial period of change, up to two years.
It is essential to have support for user employment at the highest level within the organisation from the start.