This report presents findings from research with a group of individuals with multiple and complex needs due to drug dependency and involvement in crime, asking them about their hopes and aspirations and what their good life would look like. The findings seek to challenge more creative and ambitious thinking about what people with multiple and complex needs can be supported to achieve. With public services increasingly moving towards outcome-based commissioning, this paper will be of interest to commissioners and policymakers seeking to develop more effective services for this group. Whilst participants’ conceptions of a good life were multifaceted and varied, key themes emerged:
- Stability. This was a common aspiration among participants: the importance of a ‘normal’ life with realistic goals, underpinned by a sense of being internally content
- Relationships matter. Positive relationships can be motivational and supportive and might come via services, children, or people with similar experiences
- Quality matters. The good life included a good job that was fulfilling; a safe, clean home; respect and courtesy from services
- The good life in its fullest sense goes beyond traditional ‘needs-led’ service provision, for example including informal support networks or outdoor activities and sports
- The good life is a journey, not a single vision. Participants highlighted the setbacks and difficulties which are part of this journey.