The core business of human service is meeting the most fundamental and urgent needs of the people who use our service within our scope of operation.
A century or so ago, good people, expert in their field, designed institutions as the ideal service method for residential care. We now universally see this as a dreadful mistake and pour scorn on the lack of vision present in those service designers. Of course we now do have it right don’t we? People in 50 years will look at what we have produced with amazement at our foresight and clarity won’t they? If you believe this, you won’t be interested in our services! If you have some humility and know that our capacity for doing harm is great, our consciousness limited and good intentions are not enough, then you will benefit from our consultancy.
Include works from the basis of trying to get detailed information on the nature of the service users and their most fundamental needs, and then designing an ideal service around those needs. Only when this is done will we retreat from the ideal based on the inevitable compromises that are a fact of life in human service. That is, we don’t start with a budget, or a building, and then design a service as this forces us into not even considering what the ideal might be. We believe if we have the ideal in mind we are more likely to achieve a service design closer to it, and we will know what we are striving for in the future when the inevitable compromises limit what we can immediately achieve.
Include uses the approach based on ‘Model Coherency’ designed by Professor Wolf Wolfensberger. It starts from the underpinning assumptions and principles of a service, draws out the nature and fundamental needs of the service users, determines a service area or ‘purpose’, and then designs a coherent set of processes to meet those needs within the scope of the service. All this service design is done with the key stakeholders, including the service users, families, staff, management and others with a clear stake in the outcomes. Outcomes are normally a clear purpose, a vision of an ideal, a practical means to work from in achieving the ideal and a sense of commitment coming from the clarity and consciousness of the issues.
In particular the approach allows for some dedicated service development around such difficult issues as gaining employment, developing relationships and providing valued roles for people traditionally excluded from real jobs, relationships and positive roles.