Multiple and Complex Needs

This page provides information about the Making Every Adult Matter (MEAM) Coalition and Approach, and related work areas

A handy briefing document has been produced to provide a list of key strategic contacts in health, housing, criminal justice and substance misuse in the North East.

A high proportion of people in contact with the Criminal Justice System experience multiple or complex needs, which means they:

  • experience several problems at the same time, such as mental ill health, homelessness, drug and alcohol misuse, offending, and family breakdown
  • have ineffective contact with services designed to deal with one problem at a time
  • are often trapped living chaotic lives

Making Every Adult Matter (MEAM) Coalition

MEAM is a coalition of three national charities - ClinksHomeless Link and Mind - formed to influence policy and services for adults with multiple needs and exclusions. Together the charities represent over 1600 frontline organisations working in the criminal justice, drug and alcohol treatment, homelessness and mental health sectors.

Their vision is simple: that in every local area people experiencing multiple needs are:

  • Supported by effective, coordinated services
  • Empowered to tackle their problems, reach their full potential and contribute to their communities.

The MEAM Approach

In every local area people with multiple needs and exclusions are living chaotic lives and facing premature death because as a society we fail to understand and coordinate the support they need.  Yet evidence shows that by working together local services can develop coordinated interventions that can transform lives.

The MEAM approach provides a non-prescriptive framework for developing a coordinated approach in your local area. It includes seven core elements that are important for all coordinated interventions to consider, but it is not prescriptive about how these are achieved.

Along with MEAM partners, Clinks' North East Development Officer is supporting local areas to co-ordinate existing services better and make them more flexible so that they don’t exclude people, and ultimately to change the way services are organised and delivered so that people do not fall through the gaps so badly in the future.

Find out more about the MEAM approach on the project website.

North East Multiple Needs and Exclusion Forum

Clinks and Homeless Link coordinate coordinate a North East Multiple Needs and Exclusion Forum. The main purpose of the group is to bring together people from the four sectors (homelessness, criminal justice, mental health and substance misuse) in order to help develop work across the North East, to better serve people facing multiple needs and exclusions by:

  • Sharing experience of developing multiple needs work
  • Bringing together the voluntary sector and statutory sector to discuss issues and offer solutions
  • Highlight good practice form the North East and share more widely
  • Gather views to influence policy through the Making Every Adult Matter Coalition

Download the Terms of Reference for the Group (PDF: 402 KB)

North East MEAM areas

North Tyneside MEAM Approach

In North Tyneside a decision was taken to employ a MEAM Coordinator, situated within the Adult Social Care Gateway Team, to work with a cohort of individuals who ‘normally fall through the cracks’ between services and whose cases often lead to serious case reviews. This cohort were often excluded from services, as they did not meet the criteria threshold for service provision, and MEAM provided an opportunity to collectively support and work with this group in a more productive way in order to address the negative cyclical nature of their lives.

The approach has focused on coordination, with the key role of the MEAM Coordinator centred on optimising the use of existing resources within North Tyneside through convening multi-disciplinary meetings for the client group to access and agreeing ways forward.

The focus of the work of the MEAM Coordinator has been to establish the MEAM framework within the locality, to establish, convene and chair the Operational Panel and the Strategic Board and to ensure that MEAM is running effectively.

For more information about North Tyneside MEAM contact Coordinator Ros Leggett roslynn.leggett@northtyneside.gov.uk

Sunderland MEAM Approach

In Sunderland it was agreed to build on existing strong partnership working to develop an operational group which would look to address the needs of a small cohort with severe muliple and complex needs. A coordinator was employed by a local voluntary organisation to work alongside the City Council to support these individuals. The cohort chosen all have issues around homelessness; offending behaviour; mental and physical health problems and substance misuse.

The role of the coordinator is to understand the needs of the individuals and work with services in order to provide a more flexible approach to meeting their needs. A strategic group was developed, in order to escalate issues which services were unable to resolve at an operational level.

For more information aout Sunderland MEAM contact Coordinator Joe Kemetmuller Joe.Kemetmuller@Lifeline.org.uk

Newcastle/Gateshead Fulfilling Lives

In 2014 the Big Lottery Fund invested £112 million across 12 areas by bringing different organisations and services together to offer individuals with complex needs one coordinated support service that meets all their needs. The MEAM Coalition are providing specialist advice and support to the Fulfilling Lives areas across England.

Newcaste/Gateshead Fulfilling Lives were one of the successful 12 areas. Changing Lives is the lead partner and the accountable body, with other members of the Core Partnership Oasis Aquila Housing and Mental Health Concern. In addition the Fulfilling Lives Strategic, Operational and Service User Reference Group are committed to support, promote, share learning and work in partnership with the Fulfilling Lives Core Partnership.

The goal is to improve and better coordinate services to support people across Newcastle and Gateshead living with multiple and complex needs – to see people for the potential they have, rather than for their problems. This will include the opportunity for service users to have a voice and to train as peer evaluators and co-design the way the programme is delivered.

The longevity of the programme and level of funding allows real opportunity to make a serious impact upon the lives of people with complex needs living in and between Newcastle and Gateshead.

For more information about Newcastle/Gateshead Fulfilling Lives contact Programme Manager Lindsay Henderson lindsay.henderson@fulfillinglives-ng.org.uk

Find out more at the Fulfilling Lives website.