One of the biggest changes for Turning Point Scotland this year has been the implementation of the new Flexible Homelessness Outreach Support Service in Glasgow (FHOSS).

FHOSS is the biggest single tender Turning Point Scotland has won; in terms of the numbers of people being supported, the size of the staff team and the revenue brought in from a single contract. The initial priorities were the continued safety and wellbeing of service users, new staff inductions, training and development needs and finding suitable locations for offices.

Susanne Pritchard, Glasgow FHOSS Implementation Manager, said the first couple of months had gone very well:

“There is a real sense of belonging to the organisation. Everyone involved felt we had to make this work. It was a huge task to take on. Everybody was so determined and there was real team working involved. Really, we were learning on our feet and we had to go with it, facing the consequences if we didn’t achieve what was required. Everybody mucked in and got on with it.”

At the time of writing, in the North-West the service is supporting 389 people and in the South the service is supporting 447 people. The task facing everyone involved with FHOSS was completing a smooth transition for the people being supported and the staff transferring over to us in a matter of weeks.

“Before the service was up and running we had to take over two offices in the North-West from other providers and find two new offices in the South then kit them out with phones, PCs, furniture and make sure the introduction of the new FHOSS service in Glasgow there was a positive working environment for the staff. The organisation concluded the TUPE process of no fewer than 119 members of staff from five other providers.

One-to-one consultations were held with staff to welcome them to Turning Point Scotland, tell them about the organisation, establish their level of experience to find out any training requirements and match up to equivalent job roles. Once the staff teams were in place and the day of taking on the service finally arrived, they had to make sure more than 800 service users were safe, all of their files and information were transferred over with everyone being allocated a key worker.

Susanne said: “One of the initial challenges was the re-assessment of individuals that transferred over to the new FHOSS service who didn’t necessarily meet the criteria. We put together an assessment team in each of the areas and they assessed 342 individuals, which was a huge piece of work. If individuals didn’t meet the new FHOSS criteria we continued with the support until they were signposted to the appropriate services.”

It’s been a learning curve for the service and there are still challenges ahead. Working with people seeking asylum and refugees is a new area of work for Turning Point Scotland which requires additional learning and training. It also means ensuring support is still person centred when working through interpreters. The service is also looking to attract volunteers, who will have been supported by FHOSS or other services where they have a background in homelessness, and an open day is being planned for January to help promote this.