Next Stage - A Way Forward

A Message from Lord Pickles and Lord Blunkett, followed by Next Stage - A Way Forward's best practice article

The ability to listen and learn from one another has always been vital in parliament, in business and in most aspects of daily life. But at this particular moment in time, as national and global events continue to reiterate, it is uncommonly crucial that we forge new channels of communication and reinforce existing ones. The following article from Next Stage - A Way Forward is an attempt to do just that. We would welcome your thoughts on this or any other Parliamentary Review article.

Blunkett signature Rt Hon The Lord David Blunkett
Pickles signature Rt Hon The Lord Eric Pickles

Managing Director Paul O’Rourke
Great to spend time
out together
Next Stage Group is a care provider that serves children,
young people and adults with complex needs through a
comprehensive range of services. It aims to become the
provider of choice and is not bound by location in providing
a person-centred assessment and support plans for any
individual. Managing Director Paul O’Rourke explains that Next
Stage Group’s four companies serve individuals, with several
registered offices located throughout the northwest, allowing
them to cover a wide geographical area.
I founded Next Stage with the intention of providing support to the local
community of Bolton and Wigan. With strong partnerships and well-developed,
trusted relationships, our growth has been significant and we have moved into
Greater Manchester, Cheshire and Yorkshire, where we have set up offices.
Throughout our four companies we serve people with a range of strengths and
help them focus on the opportunities available in order to achieve good outcomes.
Many of the people we support face a number of life challenges, but our dedicated
workforce specialises in challenging and negotiating some of those difficulties,
paving a way forward for growth and development.
We work alongside people with Learning and physical Disabilities, Mental Health
needs, brain injury, drug and alcohol dependency and additional social and other
vulnerabilities. We have close working relationships with commissioners in local
authorities and health organisations. Our services include outreach support,
supported living, group home living, larger units that provide support based on a
recovery model, children’s homes and services for children and young people who
require foster care placements.
»Managing Director:
»Founded in 2002
»Based in Bolton, with offices
throughout the northwest
»Services: A comprehensive
range of services for children,
young people and adults with
a variety of complex needs
»No. of employees: 235
»We have twice won the Two
Star Awards for the Times
Best Employer, as well as the
Best Employer Great British
Care Awards Regional Winner
2017 and Best Employer Great
British Care Awards National
Winner 2018
Next Stage Group
Highlighting best practice
We work in collaboration with a
housing association, which meets our
high standards, and we can work in
partnership to provide a wraparound
model of care and support. At initial
contact we gather relevant and
proportionate information with other
agencies and are able to present a
holistic assessment for all new and
potential service users. We respond to
every request and provide a detailed and
transparent appraisal of information.
Next Stage – A Way Forward
Established in 2002, A Way Forward
is our largest company, supporting
adults with complex needs and social
challenges. We enable people to live in
and be part of their own community,
while working on promoting a place-
based model where we come together
with our local footprint. We work
closely with GPs, police officers, service
providers, shops, leisure facilities and
the community, and we enjoy being
part of community life and contributing
positively. We support people to take
up employment opportunities in their
local area and develop relationships
with the community; enhancing a
positive reputation is an essential part
of our support. We are monitored
and inspected by CQC, who rate our
service as “good”.
Next Stage – Youth
Youth Development provides quality
support for vulnerable young people
through the provision of person-centred,
semi-independent living facilities. Our
service began with a semi-independent,
group living provision in Wigan and
has developed into six group living
provisions and a multitude of dispersed
solo placements across the northwest
of England and West Yorkshire.
We employ around 40 members of
staff with extensive experience and
varied qualifications, some of which
include children and young people’s
workforce, criminal justice, psychology
and social work. We have successfully
transitioned over 50 young people into
adulthood and independence, through
a life skills programme and a safe and
nurturing environment where they can
explore and develop themselves with
Next Stage – 4 Life
4 Life is a care home provider that
creates inclusive packages of care
for vulnerable children and young
people with complex needs from four
homes in Bury, Bolton, Wigan and
Chorley. Our young people have made
significant progress and we have good
working relationships with external
professionals who provide the best
care possible. Therapy plans are built
around service users at the admission
stage, considering their psychological
history, current needs and long-term
plans. Alongside a robust integrated
therapy model and care plan, we
believe that successful placements rely
on carefully matching our children,
staff and homes. Despite industry-
wide issues with recruitment, our strict
process ensures we employ people
who can add to our staff teams, while
our staff are aware of professional
boundaries that model good
relationships for our young people.
Celebrating a winning
Multi award
winning care
Next Stage – for Fostering
Our independent fostering agency
received a “good” rating from Ofsted
and it was established to provide
high-quality fostering placements for
local authorities across the northwest.
We recruit, assess, support, train and
supervise our carers and we offer a
variety of placements for children and
young people from birth to 18 years of
age. This includes respite, emergency,
short-term, long-term, parent and
child, children with disabilities, solo,
complex and sibling placements. We
also offer staying-put placements for
young people who turn 18 years old
but still require their foster carers until
they are ready for independence.
In partnership with local authorities,
we match children and young people
with their foster carers and families.
With our carers we support children
and young people in line with their
care plan, striving to achieve placement
stability and helping them to attain
positive outcomes in all areas of their
lives. All our social workers hold an
appropriate social worker qualification
and are registered with HCPC, while all
business support staff have experience
and qualifications suitable to their roles
and responsibilities.
Investing in staff and local
Working with local communities is
an essential aspect of our provision.
We have developed local group
committees which our elected
members chair, we are patrons of
the Bolton girls and lads club and our
youth development service is involved
with Everton Youth Zone. We have
set out a distinct set of organisational
values, attitudes and behaviours which
we embed into all aspects of working
life. These include: accountability,
flexibility, passion, resilience, patience,
understanding and determination.
We have a training department which
enables us to respond and develop
continuously to improve and enhance
the support we provide. We work with
colleges to enable accredited training
for our workforce and succession
planning is an area in which we place
great value. We face recruitment
challenges, but we work diligently
to make our offer attractive. We
provide opportunities to our workforce
including social activity, sports groups,
succession planning through career
progression, training and weekly
fresh fruit. We also offer Medicash to
everyone as an employer committed
to work life balance. Recently, we
launched a staff awards event where
our team voted for their winners in
various categories. A black-tie dinner
and dance was held and staff were
recognised for their outstanding
team designs
and develops
around the
needs of the
people we
Foster Carers Walk
and Talk session -
guaranteed to lift your
Winners of the Great
British National Care

This article was sponsored by Next Stage - A Way Forward. The Parliamentary Review is wholly funded by the representatives who write for it. The publication in which this article originally appeared contained the following foreword from Rt Hon Kwasi Kwarteng.

Rt Hon Kwasi Kwarteng's Foreword For The Parliamentary Review

By Rt Hon Kwasi Kwarteng

This year’s Parliamentary Review reflects on a tumultuous and extraordinary year, globally and nationally. As well as being an MP, I am a keen student of history, and I am conscious that 2020 would mark the end of an era. It will be remembered as the year in which we concluded Brexit negotiations and finally left the European Union. Above all, it will be remembered as the year of Covid-19.

In our fight against the pandemic, I am delighted that our vaccination programme is beginning to turn the tide – and I pay tribute to the British businesses, scientists and all those who have helped us to achieve this. But the virus has dealt enormous damage, and we now have a duty to rebuild our economy.

We must ensure that businesses are protected. We have made more than £350 billion available to that end, with grants, business rates relief and our furlough scheme supporting more than 11 million people and jobs in every corner of the country, maintaining livelihoods while easing the pressure on employers. The next step is to work with business to build back better and greener, putting the net zero carbon challenge at the heart of our recovery. This is a complex undertaking, but one which I hope will be recognised as a once in a lifetime opportunity.

Through the prime minister’s ten point plan for a green industrial revolution, we can level up every region of the UK, supporting 250,000 green jobs while we accelerate our progress towards net zero carbon emissions.

With our commitment to raise R&D spending to 2.4% of GDP and the creation of the Advanced Research & Invention Agency, we are empowering our fantastic researchers to take on groundbreaking research, delivering funding with flexibility and speed. With this approach, innovators will be able to work with our traditional industrial heartlands to explore new technologies, and design and manufacture the products on which the future will be built – ready for export around the globe.

And I believe trade will flourish. We are a leading nation in the fight against climate change. As the host of COP26 this year, we have an incredible opportunity to market our low-carbon products and expertise. Our departure from the EU gives us the chance to be a champion of truly global free trade; we have already signed trade deals with more than 60 countries around the world.

As we turn the page and leave 2020 behind, I am excited about the new chapter which Britain is now writing for itself, and for the opportunities which lie ahead of us.
Rt Hon Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy