Taking Action: Social Responsibility at Sunstone

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Taking Action: Social Responsibility at Sunstone

As a part of our commitment to social responsibility (CSR), Sunstone has always been interested in the challenges and problems across society. Over the past two years we’ve undertaken and commissioned various organisations to look into some of these issues, including:

• Drug and alcohol misuse by young people
• Safeguarding children and vulnerable adults
• Responding more effectively and supporting complex families

Recently, we commissioned TONIC to look into how complex families, which include those experiencing mental health, substance misuse, homelessness problems, to firstly understand the problem and secondly develop training and tools to support community organisations to address these complexities.

 They found that families experiencing one or more problems struggle and these issues often interact, become cyclical and are difficult to change. Additionally, Social Services and the voluntary sector are not particularly well joined up, these means that the challenges that families experience are not successfully addressed and therefore create dependency on services. Ultimately, these families do not want involvement from services but would like to be thriving, independent and successful. This means that services need to either change the way they work (i.e. become more integrated) or design interventions around the family that are outcome focused, targeted and meet needs. The main outputs from this work has included:

• Dedicated training packs for professionals working with complex families
• Evidence based tools and interventions (Family Focused Assessment & Motivational Keyworking Approaches)
• Service mapping, to ensure families are aware of what support is available

However, we will not rest there. We’ve got ambition to bring some of our profits and expertise to implement this work across our area. We believe it is not only right to work this way, but we have a duty as an ethical and responsible business to ensure we are useful and committed members of society.

Lastly, we welcome proposals from voluntary sector organisations and other businesses to commission and develop targeted responses around those issues which cause problems in society.


At TONIC, we think that things can be done better if we:
1. Are innovative and inclusive
2. Listen and communicate
3. Use the evidence effectively
4. Get the right people to “buy-in

TONIC have successfully completed numerous projects, including:

• Development of outcome tools and a clinical governance framework for The Children’s Society (including their substance misuse services), equipping them with tools to ensure quality of delivery and communicate this to commissioners
• Quality Assurance inspections for KCA (UK) – a major provider of substance misuse services for adults across the South East & London
• A range of pieces of work with Government Departments (Home Office, Department for Education, & Department of Health) regarding drugs, alcohol and tobacco. These include the development of national policy and strategy with Ministers across Government, public consultations designed and analysed, and the writing of regulatory legislation, and being on the board of the NTA
• Consultation with substance misuse service users (individual adults, families and young people) for a variety of projects with county councils (e.g. Essex & Warwickshire) to ensure that service users are at the heart of service design and understanding needs to influence commissioning and strategy