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North Kent Mind, The Almshouses, 20 West Hill Dartford, Kent, DA1 2EP

  • General Office: 01322 291380
  • Fax: 01322 285294
  • Housing Enquiries: 01322 222256

Strategic Plan

Strategic Plan

3 Year Strategy 2014-2017



Over the last three years, North Kent Mind worked to implement a 3-year strategy. Some of the key items it implemented in response to this strategy were:

  • Decision not to take on a fundraiser post
  • Decision to sell the property previously held in Swanley
  • Running some fee-paying services financed solely by client contributions
  • Being prepared to engage in effecting staff redundancies where there is a business case to do this
  • Recruitment of a permanent employed CEO instead of reliance of an interim self-employed one
  • Updating office telephone system
  • Redesign of Website
  • Making counselling more available outside of the Dartford Area
  • Introduction of more individualised services in Community Services
  • Flexibility and innovation in Community Services
  • Taking Mental Health Training out to external organisations for a market-level fee
  • Offering resettlement grants to encourage the move-on of tenants with assured tenancies, who no longer require support
  • Completion of the Mentoring and Befriending Foundation Accreditation process
  • Applying for relevant tenders and new pieces of work.


Some key items not implemented were:

  • Work in Medway
  • BACP accreditation.


During the life of the last 3-year strategy, the organisation also spent time and energy on undertaking the national Quality Management in Mind process and, at the time of being awarded this at the highest level, was the smallest Local Mind Association to achieve this.  Most significantly, as a result of its strategy to apply for relevant new pieces of work, the organisation successfully applied to be a Qualified Provider of Psychological Services funded by the NHS. This has significantly increased the turnover of the organisation (effectively doubling it) and has brought a welcome diversification of funding streams to the charity, making it far less reliant on funding from Kent County Council.  At the same time, this has brought a substantial increase in the number of clients served, has expanded the staff establishment by some 11 whole time equivalent posts, created some 20 self-employed sessional therapists, and involved us in renting rooms for therapy in a wide range of local venues. Inevitably, this has put pressure on the staff team as a whole, and it is now clear that the space available in the long-established offices of the Almshouses in Dartford are no longer adequate for the work we do.

The current strategy, created from work at an awayday held for all paid staff in September 2013, a Board Awayday in January 2014 and informed by a survey of service user satisfaction held in October 2013, attempts to capitalise on the success of the organisation and to proceed in a prudent manner with the key issues it faces. Items from this strategy are distilled to create the annual operational plans, and thence the tasks of the Senior Management Team and their supervisees.

Justin Bateman CEO

March  2014



The following detailed text is based on a strategy which foresees the following key developments in chronological order:

  1. The acquisition of an additional base in Gravesend, so that the organisation will function on a 2-site model
  2. The extension of the successful PCPT service
  3. An expansion into Medway.


Crucial to the success of these developments will be the creation of a new senior post of Development Manager, OR the use of fixed term development managers for specific tasks, funded from a successful build up of surplus funds (from recent PCPT work and the sale of property), and a wider defined area of benefit and a new name will need constitutional changes. At the same time, the organisation must work to preserve the quality existing services, and especially reduce to a minimum waiting lists that can accrue in PCPT services and low-cost counselling.

  1. The strategy envisages the retention of existing services:
  2. The PCPT service by continuing to provide a financially viable service meeting the required targets within a payment by results system
  3. Community Services through a successful tender supported by increased peer-led services and use of conventional community venues.
  4. Housing Services through membership of a West Kent wide consortium of Mental Health housing providers
  5. Low-Cost Counselling through, if required, increase in client fees and an alternative management system.


We wish to strengthen the presence of Mind as a whole throughout Kent and Medway through working with the other Kent LMAs on an overarching structure which could apply for contracts on a pan-Kent basis, and provide mutual support for tendering operations. The Strategy sees the need for various internal adjustments to strengthen the capacity of the organisation to sustain recent and future growth: in protection of reserves, in composition of the Board, in internet banking, in IT systems, in formal staff appraisal systems, in reaching under-represented age and ethnic groups, in cross-departmental agreements and collaboration, and other minor items.

1. Resources: The Organisation and its Finances


 1.1 Context

This strategy is created at a time when the cutbacks of the last few years are being most keenly felt (Kent County Council refers to the need to save £330 million over 3 years as permanent cuts), and there have been significant changes in the commissioning structures within both the NHS and Local Authorities. In particular we note:

  • Kent County Council is to cease Grant Payments/Service Level Agreements to established providers and instead run on a model of competitive tender
  • The rise of other agencies who have outbid us for tenders, often taking the work over throughout Kent, even when they have no particular track record of mental health work
  • The abandonment by KCC of any belief in the value of nurturing local voluntary organisations, and a harsher commissioning environment in which track record and added value play a lesser part than price and declaration of how the service will run
  • The establishment of Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) as the key NHS commissioners
  • The continued uncertainty over KCC’s declared wish to develop a vibrant personal budget system in mental health: for a number of years, although this has been signalled, there has been no real evidence of its implementation
  • The organisation’s requirement to now contribute to any shortfall in pensions investment funds
  • The need to factor into budgets the organisation’s contribution to pensions as from February 2016
  • Within KCC, the overall Supporting People Budget will no longer be ring-fenced.

To continue to develop an organisation with a diverse source of funding, on which our survival and growth depends, we need to consider the value of working in other areas (eg Medway Unitary Authority).


1.2 What we have done recently:

  • Taken on a whole new service: Primary Care Psychological Therapies, funded by the NHS on a Payment by Results System
  • Been engaged in a variety of tender operations and applications to grant-making bodies
  • Sold the previous property in Swanley
  • Reviewed the reserves policy in the light of delays in the NHS funding system which resulted in severe cash-flow risk
  • Lost the contract for the provision of services to the Carers of People with mental health issues
  • Ensured the Low-Cost Counselling Service works as a full-cost-recovery service within a Social Enterprise Model
  • Budgeted for staff salaries to have a cost-of-living uplift for two successive years
  • Restructured the Budget for Supported Housing so that this is more fairly and rationally used in comparison to other departments
  • Created “Mind Direct”, a framework system for personal budgets as a payment mechanism
  • Accepted, as a principle, the need for staff redundancies and/or reduction of services in the event of funding reductions
  • Reduced the burden to the organisation of the supervision of Student Social Work Placements by using external supervisors and therefore receiving only 50% of placement costs
  • Ceased to spend staff time on fundraising issues due to cost-benefit implications
  • Taken advantage of the NHS system of providing full-cost salary support to Trainee PCPT therapists.


1.3 What we shall continue to do:

  • Set budgets that provide a surplus
  • Continue good financial housekeeping
  • Annually review staff conditions and rates of pay
  • Explore possibilities of collaborative mergers and geographical expansion
  • Bid for appropriate tenders and new pieces of work
  • Actively look for possibilities of working in partnership/collaboration with others
  • Provide placements for student social workers, but as a minor funding stream
  • Keep the esteem of funders by showing good levels of performance of high quality services
  • Monitor the capacity of financial systems to deal effectively with the significantly increased income
  • Keep abreast of possibilities of applying for funding from external organisations.
  • Aim for full cost recovery on any new initiatives


1.4 What we will do differently within the time scale of this strategy:

  • Further diversify our funding streams through:
  • Plans to deliver PCPT services in other CCG (Clinical Commissioning Group) areas
  • Start to deliver services in Medway through a new appointment of Development Manager
  • Ensure the larger sums of money we now bank are safe from the vagaries of bank collapse
  • Work with the other 3 Kent LMAs to create an overarching structure which will:
  • Promote the best interests and security of all Kent KLMAs (eg opportunities to tender for pan-Kent work)
  • Contribute to the strategy of National Mind to have total geographical coverage of LMAs throughout England and Wales
  • Establish more efficient and robust financial systems including internet banking
  • As a consequence of developing into Medway and other work in Kent, the organisation also needs to undertake constitutional changes
  • Factor into budgets implication of new pension arrangements.


2. Resources: The Organisation and its Staff


2.1 Context

As with most voluntary sector organisations who deliver services, the greatest single expenditure of financial resources is on our staff.

The organisation has a good track record of staff retention, and it is clear that loyalty to the organisation and belief in its ethos inspires staff, when appropriate, to take on tasks outside the remit of their job description. At the awayday during the creation of this strategy: staff were asked to indicate what they liked about working for the organisation. The most frequently mentioned factors were:

  • The support available from colleagues. This was often expressed as the advantage of feeling one was working in a team. Staff were described as “dedicated”, and had  “experience and passion”.
  • The concept of flexibility was the next most identified theme, and related to hours of work and venues.
  • The ethos of the organisation. Where this was closer defined, there were notes of being “ person-centred”, having a commitment to service-users and involving them, working in a non-clinical holistic way, and being an organisation which goes above and beyond supporting people with mental health issues.
  • Working with clients was seen as a positive experience
  • Making a difference to people we try to help; as one put it “being inspired by observing recovery”.
  • The relaxed and friendly atmosphere: respondents also describing this as “social and jovial”, “approachable”, “being able to approach management and not feel judged”. One noted “the informality of the office which still remains efficient”.

The organisation needs to bear in mind these positives, and ensure that they are not lost in any future developments. This is even the more crucial given that as from April 2014, the organisation will be employing qualified Psychological Wellbeing Practitioners and qualified High Intensity CBT Therapists who would have the capacity and qualifications to easily migrate to other agencies, yet are employed by DGS Mind on salary levels lesser than those available in eg the NHS.

Another key development is that  as the organisation has expanded, there is now, for the first time in many years, the possibility of promotion within the organisation. Through this mechanism volunteers have become employees, and employees have moved to higher salary levels. This also serves to help maintain staff retention .


2.2 What we have done recently:

  • Taken on a whole new tranche of staff to deal with PCPT work
  • Taken on self-employed sessional workers to create flexibility within the PCPT service
  • Given a cost-of-living rise for 2 years running, after several years of frozen levels
  • Rationalised car mileage payments, and bank holiday entitlement for part-time workers
  • Taken advantage of the NHS offer to provide salary support to trainee specialist PCPT workers
  • Offered time-limited contracts where we were unsure as to the continuation of funding relevant to particular posts
  • Incorporated discretionary Christmas bonuses into the salary structure to make the system fairer.


2.3 What we will continue to do:

  • Operate good employee practices which ensure retention of the Investors in People Award
  • Operate stringent recruitment policies to ensure incoming staff have the skills to do the work required
  • Monitor training opportunities for staff on an individual and team basis
  • Review salaries on an annual basis to ensure they are appropriate for the voluntary sector market, internally consistent, and where possible are uplifted to take some account of inflation
  • Maintain the North Kent Mind 3 day training programme as mandatory.


2.4 What we will do differently within the time scale of this strategy:

  • Revise and strengthen Supervision and Appraisal systems throughout organisation
  • Explore the possibilities of taking on apprenticeships for administrative staff
  • Ensure all new contracts contain a mobility clause, so that the organisation is better able to adapt to expansion and change
  • Revise induction processes to ensure that incoming staff spend significant time in other departments
  • Review all systems of inter-staff contact and communication once the move to a 2-base organisation (cf 4.4) is achieved
  • Review the cost-benefit implications of the Investors in People Award
  • Institute whole team meetings in departments which have not hitherto had these
  • Work on internal cross-team agreements where the lack of these has given rise to friction


3. Resources: The Organisation and its Volunteers:


3.1 Context

North Kent Mind has traditionally used a comparatively large number of volunteers (now running at over 80) to help deliver its services. These hare been most evident in Community Services and the Low-Cost Counselling Service.  As noted above, the agency now has a more plausible “promotion path” for volunteers into paid employment or sessional self-employed work within North Kent Mind. We do not generally suffer from a lack of potential volunteers, but within the mentoring service in particular we experience some substantial degree of turnover of volunteers, as mentors tend to be about to embark on paid careers or professional training after their mentoring work.


3.2  What we have done recently:

  • Maintained a clear updated list of volunteering opportunities/vacancies in North Kent Mind
  • Discontinued the previous system of “Volunteer of the Year” because of its potential divisiveness
  • Acknowledged that no external agency will fund a volunteer coordinator, and ensured all volunteers have a named staff supporter.


3.3 What we will continue to do:

  • Keep the North Kent Mind 3-day training event as mandatory for all volunteers. Offer it to trustees as advisable but optional.
  • Run  a screening process whereby people unsuitable to be volunteers can be diverted at an early stage
  • Abide by National Volunteer Codes for the good management of volunteers
  • Identify a named staff supporter for each volunteer


3.4 What we will do differently during the life of this strategy:

  • Update the  North Kent Mind Volunteer Handbook
  • Update the North Kent Mind Counsellors Handbook
  • Create a system for peer support workers in which level 1 enables people to support others and run sessions  without the formality of the mandatory 3 days training, but level 2 is an official volunteer within the organisation.


4. Resources: The Organisation and its Premises


4.1 Context

North Kent Mind Community Services are organised, and delivered in a number of different venues in a spirit of social inclusion which predates the modernisation agenda. It has never been our policy to create a Mind Centre, in which all services are delivered – as was the model with many other Local Mind Organisations –  but rather to utilise ordinary community venues as far as is possible within budgetary constraints. However, there is some vulnerability to us in running services this way –  especially with open sessions –  as we are dependent on the changes in policies of the venue owners. In Swanley we recently have had to accept increased venue costs, policies of no-smoking in venue grounds, and venue closure without due notice. A substantial rebuilding programme in Gravesend may see the loss of St Georges Hall in the next few years, and also in Gravesend the siting of the Riverside Centre is recognised as less than ideal.

For the last five years, KCC has been exploring the potential of a “one-stop-shop” in Dartford – a “live-it well centre” – in which all local organisations with a mental health role are represented. At times the concept seems to veer between an all encompassing help centre and a place available at all times where people with a mental health issues can drop in when they wish for social support. North Kent Mind has played its part in consultations on this issue, but remains concerned that the latter model especially is at variance with the KCC strategy that services should be delivered in conventional community settings.

We are alert to the fact that the current offices in Dartford are not wheelchair accessible, and cannot be made such, as it is a listed building. However to balance this the rental on the amount of office space we use is extremely good value, we are long standing tenants, and landlord is extremely accommodating to the way we use the internal space. Staff at their awayday highlighted the lack of space in the Almshouses as the most common frustration they had with working, and the organisation is still expanding.


4.2 What we have done recently:

  • Rented serviced offices in Dartford and Gravesend for the delivery of PCPT services
  • Hired rooms in other venues – Community Centres, GP surgeries etc – for delivery of PCPT services
  • Rented office space within the Dartford base to CarersFirst for their Mental Health Carers Worker
  • Invested in office furniture that makes the greatest use of the room available, and reorganised rooms within the Almshouses
  • Applied unsuccessfully for funding to enable the acquisition of an extra garden room on the Dartford site
  • Explored, without result, several potential venues in Gravesend for community services


4.3 What we will continue to do:

  • Strive to make sure services are equally locally available in the 3 towns of Dartford, Swanley and Gravesend
  • Keep an eye open for more suitable community open sessions in Gravesend
  • Expand the use of serviced offices and GP surgeries where possible for the delivery of PCPT services
  • Comment on the “live-it-well” KCC initiative.


4.4 What we will do differently within the time scale of this strategy:

  • Achieve an office, therapy and potentially, group session base in Gravesend to run in conjunction with the existing Dartford base
  • Develop small community services groups into Libraries, Sports Halls, Adult Education Buildings etc
  • Lose the dependence on the Youth and Community Centre as a Swanley venue
  • Cancel the financial agreement with CarersFirst to provide office space for them


We acknowledge that the concept of becoming a two-base organisation represents a significant change for North Kent Mind, with a host of attendant issues including staff culture and internal communication. However, it also represents a necessary initiative to allow the organisation to grow and continue its valuable work, and to give a visible presence in Gravesend.

5. Resources: The Organisation and its Technological Resources


5.1 Context

Advances in technology impinge on the running of the organisation in a number of ways: so to present an appropriate public image, to remain efficient and to appeal as a provider to a generation of service users for whom technology has become second nature, an organisation such as ours need to keep abreast of the potential of current, and future, developments. The administration of the PCPT service in particular has proved to be highly based in fairly complex IT issues, and the heavy use of phone calls in our work now results in the phone system being full, and clients having to wait or ring back.


5.2 What we have done recently

  • Disbanded the internal IT maintenance facility
  • Contacted with a local IT company to provide effective IT maintenance including Cloud system storage
  • Restructured the whole of the internal computer system so that anyone can now work from any workstation
  • Undertaken an in-house redesign and update of the website
  • Updated the office telephone system, providing lines for all workers in the building
  • Delivered some counselling via Skype
  • Created a database for Low-cost Counselling Services
  • Created a home-grown internal database system for PCPT services
  • Upgraded the TAS book keeping system


5.3 What we will continue to do

  • Out-source IT maintenance to the expert contracted service
  • Use the computerised/mobile LookOut Call alert system for lone workers
  • Complete a redesign of the website using the external company


5.4 What we will do differently within the lifetime of this strategy

  • Invest in further phone lines to respond to the need to free up the frequently full phone system
  • Pilot the use of text messages re appointments for PCPT clients
  • Consider investing in bespoke systems for PCPT work (eg IAPTus, COREnet)
  • Create a central database containing basic data on when a department is working with a client/service user
  • Be approved to access the special link (N3) to enable flow of information between our, and NHS databases as part of PCPT work
  • Ensure IT systems communicate effectively between the two sites in the event a dual-site arrangement (cf 4.4)
  • Explore further Skype systems for delivering talking therapies in appropriate circumstances

6 The Organisation and its Governance


6.1 Context

The Board of Trustees is the highest authority in the organisation, and is elected by the membership at the Annual General Meeting. Further trustees can be co-opted by the board during the year.  Up to recently the core members of the board were all long-serving trustees: new recruitments, for various reasons, resigned after a period of time.


6.2 What we have done recently

  • Instituted a more robust Trustee induction system which includes the “mentoring” of new trustee by a named existing one
  • Disbanded the fundraising subcommittee and the housing subcommittee, leaving 2 subcommittees:  Finance & Personnel, and Quality
  • Designated the Quality subgroup as the clinical governance group for PCPT and low-cost counselling services
  • Moved from the system of having co-chairs to having  a chair and a deputy chair
  • Recruited new, younger trustees.


6.3 What we will continue to do

  • Pay attention to the induction and support needs of new trustees.


6.4 What we will do differently within the timescale of this strategy

  • Recruit trustees who have the skills to fill the following identified gaps in skills/experience
  • BAME
  •  Legal
  •  Human resources
  •  Lived experience of mental health problems
  • Accountancy/financial management (at the time of finalising this strategy we have an unexpected vacancy for Treasurer)
  • Work with the Charity Commission to change our constitution to:
  • Allow us to work in other geographical areas, especially Medway
  •  Change our name to mirror the above
  • Alter other constitutional issues which are now redundant


7. The Organisation and its External Links


7.1 Context

We accept that to achieve optimum use of our resources for the benefit of those we exist to help, we have to work in partnership (however defined) with other relevant organisations.  At the same time, the reality is that such other organisations may well be our competitors; this is especially identifiable where competitive tenders are being undertaken.  Managing this tension is an inevitable task of managing a Voluntary Organisation in the 21st century, and calls for a more circumspect approach than advisable in previous decades. The commercially aggressive and acquisitive approach of some national and local private and voluntary organisations for instance indicates that it would be unwise to reveal too much of our strategic thinking to these.

Our external links are also deeply affected by the overall publicity and promotion with which we engage. To some extent, we may have been reluctant to over-promote the organisation given that throughout our services we are already experiencing high demand. However, we owe it to potential clients in need to make sure they have the best chance of being aware of our services.


7.2 What we have done recently:

  • Worked with other Kent Mind LMAs to look at joint working, especially on a Kent-wide basis.
  • Participated in a new cross-referral system with the CABx


7.3 What we will continue to do:

  • Provide a quick response to any CCG issues and queries
  • Attend Key local meetings (giving us a presence, voice, opportunities for networking and  keeping abreast of developments)
  • Maintain and nurture existing links with all relevant external bodies
  • Develop further Partnerships and joint working relationships as appropriate
  • Liaise with those organisations in the table in 7.1 above, where existing links are inadequate


7.4 What we will do differently within the lifetime of this strategy:

  • Complete work with other Kent LMAs to establish a framework in which to bid for Kent-wide tenders
  • Negotiate with Maidstone Mind and Sevenoaks Area Mind to deliver PCPT services in their area
  • Devise a full promotion and publicity strategy

8. The Organisation and its Service Users


8.1 The Context

As our services have evolved, been strategically redesigned or expanded, the nature of our involvement with service-users  has also changed. The more traditional pattern, common throughout many Local Mind Associations, of dealing primarily with a smallish group of regular and long-term service users has not applied for some years. Our clientele, who total over 1600 a year, could be viewed as:

A: People who receive services for a very short period of time (typically 6-8 weeks)  and then need no further contact.

These include people coming to Coping with Life Courses or Step 2 or Step 3 PCPT services as a one-off issue.


B: People who receive services for a moderate period of time (in the region of 3 months – two years) and then need no further contact.

These include people using Low-cost Counselling, Step 3+ PCPT services, Mentoring, Short-term Housing, Time for Change Group, Recovery Groups, Springboard services, and some from the services mentioned in A above, who require further help through an additional service.


C: People who use the support and services of the organisation for several years, if not indefinitely.

These include some identifiable proportion of people in Community Services, and Tenants with assured Tenancies.

We acknowledge a need to improve our marketing to BAME communities, based on our current understanding of the ethnicity of the area of benefit compared to that of our service users. Further, national surveys indicate a large number of over – 65s suffer from issues of depression which are not being dealt with through IAPT/PCPT systems, and similar concerns have been expressed at how far that service caters for people with Learning Disability combined with Mental Health Issues. We also see a strategic logic in working with people under the age of 18, to deal with mental health issues before they become long-standing. As a further strand of work, the board identify the need for the organisation to provide sound Benefit Advice and Debt Management to people with mental health issues.


8.2 What we have done recently:

  • Delivered materials on individualisation to National Mind, having been singled out as a key player in this area
  • Retained named LGBT and BAME workers in the organisation, even though not currently running groups for these clients
  • Piloted group work for younger adults 18- 24, but failed to attract sufficient people in this age group to make this viable
  • Moved the lower age limit for our low-cost counselling service down to 15 years old
  • Started to support 2 people with their formation of an LGBT group for people under the age of 18


8.3 What we will continue to do:

  • Provide a wide range of services which in combination provide a comprehensive response to differing needs of different individuals.
  • Ensure service user participation in our services through a variety of means


8.4 What we will do differently in the lifetime of this strategy:

  • Finalise a base in Gravesend to achieve a community presence there and provide a local port of call for local people.
  • Start to deliver services in Medway
  • Work with people younger than 18
  • Strengthen our presence in Swanley
  • Respond via training for the need to help people with Learning Disability who also require, services, especially PCPT services
  • Find strategies to increase the proportion of BAME clients using our services
  • Find strategies to enable more people over 65 to access PCPT services
  • Create a way to provide Benefit Advice and Debt Management


9. The Services: Primary Care Psychological Therapies Service


9.1 Context

The inception of these services in November 2012 and the exponential growth of them in subsequent months has markedly changed the size, profile, role and dynamics of the organisation. A new team of PCPT admin has been created, Full time trainee therapists have been recruited  – and some are soon to become qualified – and a band of sessional self-employed qualified counsellors recruited, both from our existing pool of counsellors, and externally.  In volume of the work we undertake, we now equal that provided by the KMPT locally.

9.2 What we have done recently

  • Experienced some build up of a waiting list which is undesirable to all concerned, and a new phenomenon in our service
  • Created a firm time line to enable us to achieve 28 days from referral to therapy, and which can be monitored constantly


9.3 What we will continue to do

  • Ensure a balance between salaried and sessional therapists such that the service can be flexible and financially viable
  • Used serviced offices as venues to deliver PCPT services
  • Balance quality against the need to provide a fast-track service for large numbers of clients
  • Provide employment support (via our Springboard Services) funded from the PCPT service


9.4 What we will do differently in the lifetime of this strategy

  • Incorporate into our work a bespoke IT package, if costings allow
  • Deliver more services from GP surgeries
  • Proactively look for premises in advance of waiting lists building up
  • Create a list of individual counsellors/therapists and their particular areas of expertise, to aid collegiate consultation.
  • Expand Services into the West Kent CCG area
  • Extend client demography
  • Create a PCPT admin and therapists handbook


10. The Services: Fee-Paying Services: Low-cost Counselling


10.1 Context

Demand for this service has slowed in comparison to previous years, presumably as the IAPT/PCPT service impacts on need, especially  that delivered by ourselves. However, the decline in demand has been surprisingly small, featuring at some 10% in the first year of running the PCPT service.  However, the service user survey did indicate waiting lists are overlong.


10.2 What we have done recently

  • Provided this services in Gravesend and Swanley at greater volume than previously
  • Usde voluntary supervisors who are on placement for their diploma in supervision
  • Abandoned any effort to receive outside funding for this service, and run it totally as a self-financing social enterprise


10.3 What we will continue to do

  • Retain a charging policy, and  review this when the annual budget is decided
  • Improve the collection of outcome measures to ensure Quality
  • Recruit counsellors only from the better courses: experience has taught us that some courses produce trainee counsellors where        a great deal of work needs to be undertaken to bring them up to our standard


10.4 What we will do differently in the lifetime of this strategy

  • Ensure adequate voluntary admin: recruit a part time admin post financed through increase in client fees if needed.
  • Monitor the interplay between the Management of PCPT and Low Cost service, currently held by the same manager, and split off the management of the Low-cost service from the other role if appropriate

11. The Services: Community Services


11.1 Context

After many years of rolling-over grant/Service Level Agreement arrangements, KCC will put these services up for competitive tender for the successful organisation to commence in the financial year 2015-2016. If, as indicated, KCC will structure the tender on Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) areas, we assess that we are in a strong position with the tender for these services, providing an impressive range of individual, small group and large group services.


11.2 What we have done recently

  • Developed a range of new groups and activities including a theatre skills group, complimentary therapies, Mindfulness courses.
  • Achieved greater Social Inclusion by running sessions in ever more conventional community resources – Libraries, Leisure Centres etc
  • Created a sustainable model of personalised services
  • Combined with the PCPT service to jointly run Psychoeducation/Coping with Life Courses


11.3 What we will continue to do:

  • Develop further the role of peer-led services within the overall portfolio
  • Incrementally move more services into conventional community resources
  • Provide a varied portfolio of groups and courses
  • Provide individual work within the resource available
  • Move out from the unsatisfactory Riverside Centre

11.4 What we will do differently in the lifetime of this strategy:

  • Formulate a high-quality bid when the tender is announced
  • Create new courses based on the Coping with Life concept – eg Well being
  • Review the skills needed for the work with which our modernised Community Services are engaged


12. The Services: Housing

12.1 Context

Housing has represented the most “steady-state” of all our services, in that people who become tenants remain so for sometime, and are dealt with by the same dedicated team of workers. Historical practice was based on the concept that assured tenancies should be offered to incoming tenants. We now budget to offer resettlement grants to tenants able but currently ambivalent about moving to more independent housing.

KCC has now clearly indicated that it is undertaking a process retendering for Supporting People Services, and that the tender for Supporting People Mental Health will be one lot covering the whole of the KCC West Kent Area (our area plus Maidstone, Sevenoaks, Tonbridge, Tunbridge Wells), within the next few years. In this context, we need to work within some as yet undefined consortium to tender for this service jointly in order to preserve our own provision.

12.2 What we have done recently

  • As a good employer, granted the Housing Manager a year’s unpaid sabbatical
  • Offered resettlement grants to tenants on assured tenancies who are considering moving on
  • Reduced the finance coming from the Supported Housing for the senior Admin Post.


12.3 What we will continue to do

  • Recommission all units as short-term once they are vacant
  • Offer resettlement grants to all appropriate assured tenants, but ensure this is done without raising anxieties.


12.4 What we will do differently in the lifetime of this strategy

  • Agree robust post–move support packages from this organisation for assured tenants when moving on
  • Equip long-standing tenants to be more independent and rehabilitated where possible
  • Combine housing departments social and activity events with Community Services, with appropriate shared staff and budgeting
  • Work with a consortium to jointly tender for Metal Health Housing support in West Kent.


13. Other Activities

13.1 Context

3 other activities complete our current repertoire: Mental Health Awareness Raising, Mental Health Campaigning, Mind Direct

13.2 Mental Health Awareness Raising:

We consider providing placements for Social Work Students and other trainee professionals part of our Mental Health Awareness raising work, as it means we are helping to ensure that newly qualified professionals have this awareness, and an understanding of our non-medicalised approach to Mental Health.

What we have done recently:

  • Taken out awareness training to other voluntary organisations, at a fee close to market prices
  • Freed up time by reducing the level of supervision given directly to Social Work Students


What we will continue to do:

  • Provide placements for at least 2 Social Work students per year, and Mental Health Nurse short transition placements
    • Deliver Mental Health Awareness Training to other voluntary organisations
    • Continue to use experts by experience in our 3 day in-house training, and in external training when appropriate
    • Take part, in conjunction with others, in any relevant mental health events (“Talking Libraries” may be developed as part of this)


What we will do differently in the lifetime of this strategy

  • Pilot “Mental Health at Work” training to the commercial sector, at market cost
    • Pilot Mental Health Awareness to the commercial/public sector, at market cost

These might be easiest achievable through partnership with National Mind training department.


13.3 Mental Health Campaigning

This has not featured in any structured way, in our recent work, due to the pressures of service delivery.  However, we continue and shall continue to promote best practices in Mental Health throughout the work we do, in external meetings, and respond positively to contacts from the media when they wish for commentary on local and national changes.

13.4 Mind Direct

The structure for this service was formulated in response to Kent County Council’s long standing declared intention to provide personal budgets to people with mental health issues, to pay for their own “social care”. However, there is little evidence of this being put into practice, although recent contact with the CMHT indicates there may be a viable demand.

What we will do differently in the lifetime of this strategy

  • Liaise closely with the CMHT to have a last attempt to kick-start this service

14. Performance and Quality

14.1 Context

The wide range of activities we carry out would be pointless if they were not effective in improving the lives of people with mental health issues, and those of their carers. North Kent Mind therefore utilises a range of methods to try and quantify how effective individual services, and the organisation as a whole, is performing. We also recognise that demonstrating quality and high performance is a way to ensuring the esteem of funders (see 1.3 above).

14.2 What we have done recently:

  • Run a survey of service-user perspectives which will become an annual event
  • Been successfully reassessed for the Investors in People Award


14.3 What we will continue to do:

  • Ensure we retain the awards and accreditations we already have from external quality assurance systems ( eg Investors in People)
    • Keep in place all feedback systems currently in use
    • Hold regular Quality Sub Group meetings


14.4 What we will do differently in the lifetime of this strategy:

  • Achieve the New Quality Management in Mind award
    • Achieve BACP organisational accreditation
    • Review cost-benefits of the Investors in People Award
    • Achieve the Mentoring And Befriending approved provider award for a further 3 years

North Kent Mind's fee-paying counselling services can also be found on The Counselling Directory

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