‘Tireless dedication’ of family intervention project lead recognised

Posted by / Tuesday 28 June 2016 /
Tom Burke rece

The ‘tireless dedication’ shown by the supervisor of a specialist team that works with young people and families in Essex has been recognised with an international award.

Tom Burke, 51, from Southend, was presented with the ‘Whatever It Takes’ accolade at a ceremony at Essex County Council in Chelmsford on Thursday 16 June 2016 for his work in helping to deliver the ‘Multi-systemic therapy’ (MST) programme across Essex.

Run by Action for Children in partnership with Essex County Council and Social Finance, MST provides intensive, around-the-clock support to families across the county whose children are at risk of going into care because of anti-social or criminal behaviour. Each year, the US-based MST licensing organisation, MST Services, presents its prestigious award to people and teams across the world who have demonstrated outstanding service in delivering the programme.

Tom Burke rece-1

Since 2013, Tom and a fellow supervisor have managed eight specially-trained MST therapists, who have provided 24/7 support to more than 200 families across the county. The therapists typically work with families for several hours a week in their homes, usually over three to five months, and identify how best to address issues such as criminal and aggressive behaviour as well as drug and alcohol abuse. They also help a family improve their relationships and young people to make the most of education and job opportunities.

Our operational director in Essex, Steve Sipple, said: “MST is an internationally-recognised community-based programme that has been truly life-changing for families in Essex. Tom has shown tireless dedication over the past three years in keeping young people at home, in school and out of trouble - this award is entirely deserved.”


"I’m very humbled by all the kind words and am delighted to receive an award for doing the job that I love. I would like to share this award with all my MST colleagues here in Essex as it’s only been through our combined hard work that we’ve had such success."


The MST programme in Essex is funded through a Social Impact Bond; a way of attracting new investment around outcomes-based contracts that benefit individuals and communities. Private investment is used to pay for interventions, which are delivered by service providers with a proven track record. Financial returns to investors are made by the public sector on the basis of improved social outcomes. If outcomes do not improve, then investors do not recover their investment.

The Essex Social Impact Bond is funding a five-year programme which will provide intensive support to approximately 380 adolescents and their families in their home. The success of the Social Impact Bond is being measured by the reduction in days spent in care by the adolescents, as well as improved school outcomes, wellbeing and reduced reoffending. By February 2016, 208 adolescents had begun or completed the MST programme in Essex. 82% of those on the programme remain out of care and safely at home with their families. Their progress is being tracked over a 30 month period. Of those who have finished the MST programme, 12 months post completion, 87% remain at home.

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