We are delighted that one of our colleagues has won a prestigious Winston Churchill Fellowship.
Graham Ord, a Service Manager for South of the Tyne, was awarded the overseas research grant, organised by the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust. Out of 1800 applications, Graham was one of the 150 people chosen to proceed with their research.
The funding is for practical enquiries into real-world issues that the fellows have encountered in their daily lives. It allows UK citizens to travel the world in search of innovative solutions for current issues covering healthcare, culture, education, finance, environment and science.
Graham was awarded with the grant based on his idea around cross authority commissioning as a solution to homelessness and complex needs.
Cross authority commissioning depoliticises the funding process, allowing local authorities to joint fund services across a large region rather than being constrained to localised areas.
During his time at Changing Lives, Graham conducted research into how this method can help reduce homelessness and found the process working successfully in Florida.
In Central Florida, the Continuum of Care (COC) uses this model, as the funding comes from six authorities – the cities of Orlando, Kissimmee, Sanford, and the three counties of Osceola, Seminole and Orange. The COC is made up of local government officials, faith leaders and charities and makes decisions on what gets funded, what services are needed and who delivers them.
This learning has resulted in a cross-commissioning approach for homeless provisions and Graham hopes to bring this insight to our region. The concept will encourage Changing Lives to consider the funding process and create discussions with key decision makers. We will consider how integrated services can deliver a more cost effective solution across a larger region, rather than our usual model which divides based on small geographical areas.
The fellowship grant will fund Graham to travel to Florida and work alongside organisations to learn their practices. He will then devise a model of best practice that could be mirrored or at least adapted to the needs of those in the UK. The learning provides a platform to educate local and regional government organisations to develop widespread change.
My ultimate goal is to see the end to homelessness or at least a joined up structure that is effectively trying to achieve it. I really think if Tyne and Wear and all its local authorities worked together we could be the first area in England to have no rough sleepers or hidden homeless.
I hope that being a Winston Churchill Fellow will give us a platform to see real change and that I will be able to reach as many of the decision makers as possible.
We are extremely proud of Graham and his dedication to help end homelessness in our region. We will keep you posted of his progress across the pond.
Well done Graham!
Read more about our Housing and Homelessness services: