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Case Studies8

Making it real…for people with complex support needs…

Whose Shoes?® is a tool that is easy to use. However, like most facilitation tools, it works even better if there is a skilled and creative facilitator!


Ashleigh Niven, Personalisation Development Manager for Enable (Scotland) is a real Whose Shoes?® champion and has shared lots of tips about how to get best value from this resource. So it was not surprising that, when Ashleigh got promoted from her previous role as Team Leader, she and her team thought of a way to use Whose Shoes?® as part of the recruitment process to find a successor!

It is the first time we have heard of this particular application so we asked Ashleigh’s team to tell us what they did. Thank you to Ashleigh Niven, Pauline Buchan and Jenn Hall for sharing this innovative approach and to Pauline for writing the case study.

What happened

We held a group interview for 15 candidates for the role of Personalisation Development Manager within our organisation. This group interview was designed as a values-based interview with inclusion being at the forefront. We wanted to get an insight into the individuals own personal values and leadership skills and observe how they interacted with each other and the co-facilitators who were an integral part of the interview panel.

When designing the group interview process we knew that we wanted to do something really creative and unique that would allow people to excel. We also needed the process to be something that our co-facilitators (a group made up of the people we support) could fully participate in and express their views over their preferred candidates.

We really wanted to see how the candidates would deal with particular attitudes and opinions that we are faced with on a regular basis. To do this we selected two cards from Whose Shoes?®. The first of these was the ‘Shock! Horror! Probe!’ card.

We gave them this scenario and asked them to write a newspaper article in response to this, in particular challenging the viewpoint and promoting the benefits of people being able to use their budgets in flexible ways including purchases such as this.

Initial outcome

After they wrote their articles, we broke into groups of three candidates, each with a facilitator and a co-facilitator and asked them to feedback. This was a fantastic exercise as people really got the opportunity to shine and demonstrate their values, knowledge and passion on personalisation. It also gave people the opportunity to challenge the exclusion that many of the people we have supported have suffered throughout their life journey.

And then…

We also wanted to see how the candidates would address a challenge that is being asked in most areas about how personalisation will work for people with complex support needs. For this we used card B24 (a card about people being too ill or disabled to say what they want). We asked candidates how they would support people with complex support needs or those who do not use words to communicate to identify meaningful outcomes. We also asked, what are the other ways in which you can maximise the level of control in that person’s life? We asked them to prepare a short presentation on this to be delivered to the group.

This allowed us to see their presentation skills but also gave us some insight into what approaches / tools they might use and also let us see how creative the person was.

This approach was well received and gave us greater insight into the person’s skills and abilities to do the kind of work that this role requires.

People can talk a very good game when it comes to an individual interview but what was really interesting was seeing how the candidates interacted with each other / the competition and in particular how well they engaged with the people we support.”

Group facilitator

Final outcomes

At the end of this process we sat down and discussed with the co-facilitators how they felt about each candidate and who they would like to be invited back for individual Interview and the reasons behind this. We took pictures of all candidates to help facilitate this discussion.

Overall this was a great experience and the feedback from the participants was that they got a lot out of it.

The second exercise was the decider! People’s real values shone through and we reduced our list of candidates down from 15 to 5.”

Ashleigh Niven

We are loving using Whose Shoes?® for the events we are facilitating, there are so many creative ways to use it!”

Pauline Buchan
Personalisation Development Worker

The images used on the website page backgrounds are based on graphic records
produced in real time during 'Whose Shoes®' events by New Possibilities Ltd.

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