Category Archives: News

What’s new from Rickter in 2017?

Keith Stead, CEO @ Rickter, looks at what’s coming up in the year ahead.

Firstly a somewhat belated Happy New Year to you all! Here’s hoping regardless of the unfolding Brexit saga and uncertainty about what the new USA presidency might bring, that we can find peace, security and fulfilment in our own lives in 2017.

It is difficult for me to take in that the Rickter Scale® Process has now been a ‘work in progress’ for 24 years, that we have trained and licensed over 20,000 practitioners in 22 countries, with an estimated 1.5 million Rickter Scale® interviews being completed.

I refer to Rickter being a work in progress, because since Rick Hutchinson and I first began experimenting with that very first Rickter Board – constructed in best Blue Peter fashion on Rick’s kitchen table using cardboard – the Rickter Scale® has always been a process developed for practitioners, by practitioners.

Although Klonopin is considered a good medicine, it didn’t help me. I felt horrible even after taking the lowest dose. I suffered from vertigo, headache and sickness. I felt like I was drunk. After withdrawing the asthma drug, things got worse. The physiciantold me to withdraw the medicine gradually to avoid side effects.

So thank you for your collective success in contributing to what has been achieved, not only in terms of the statistics above, but in creating the means of awakening people to choice, ownership, responsibility and empowerment: our Rickter Company mission.

Your contribution has led to us now being able to offer hundreds of overlays that reflect the specific needs of service users in over 6,000 projects, as well as ensuring alignment with their organisations’ aims and objectives.

It is through your feedback that we can also offer our range of adapted Rickter Boards for group work, for children, for those with limited fine motor skills, for those who use Braille and for those on the Autism spectrum.

Coming soon, again as a result of your feedback, we’ll be introducing a range of new courses. Look out for further announcements on our new website:

Also in the pipeline is a paper researched and authored by Northumbria University. It not only validates the Rickter process of enquiry, but by also measuring individuals’ Heart Rate, evidences how users can experience a state of heart-brain coherence. Seemingly wild stuff, but with exciting implications for Rickter users’ wellbeing!

So, once again from the team here at Rickter, thank you for all the brilliant work you are doing and please continue to stay in touch with your suggestions and news of your own achievements in 2017.

Keith Stead

Meet ANS: the leading Rickter Associate Organisation in Italy

Marianna and Serena, July 2015

Marianna and Serena, July 2015

I recently travelled back to Carpi in the Modena Provence of Italy to train Serena and Marianna from Anziani e non solo soc. coop (ANS) as Associate Rickter Trainers.

This service works with unemployed migrants, training them as carers for the elderly. In Carpi the care is given in the home of the elderly person, with the carer usually taking up residence.

ANS use Rickter to evaluate the outcomes of their Care Course and to help job-match the individual with the elderly person. We have worked with ANS for several years now through various European Partnerships, building not only professional collaboration but great friendships too.

We spent five days working together on the skills to deliver Rickter Scale® Training and Groupwork Training, as well as learning our Impact and Quality Management Systems.  Each day was about learning and practicing. Marianna and Serena worked very hard and delivered their first day of training in-house to colleagues on Friday of that week and in English, which was no mean feat! They were very professional and competent in their training, with an approachable and informative style. I was very proud to present them with their Associate Trainer Licence, making their organisation the leading Rickter Associate Partner in Italy.

ANS have secured a contract to deliver Rickter Training in Sicily to Employment Advisers who work in government-funded employment services. They have already undertaken the initial Rickter Scale® Training and will return in September for a follow up and to deliver Groupwork Training. The Employment Advisers have worked with Serena and Marianna on developing two overlays, one for young people and one for older people who are long-term unemployed. The Rickter Company has supported them in this process, offering advice around the structure of the questions and the possible flow of the interview. These overlays are designed to engage with the individuals and to evidence the outcomes of the service.

I was made to feel very welcome by everyone during my visit and had the honour of being invited into people’s homes for dinner. I enjoyed trying new foods, one of them being Balsamic Ice Cream which was gorgeous. Carpi is of course famous for its production of Balsamic Vinegar. I thoroughly enjoyed my time with everyone in ANS and seeing Carpi again, which is a beautiful town. There was only one down side – Tiger Mosquitoes love Scottish blood!

Launch of new Rickter Appraisal System

Appraiser Training A new way of undertaking staff appraisal, our system benefits Management and Staff, helping achieve positive outcomes for the organisation as a whole.

Having just delivered our first Rickter Appraiser training, we are very pleased with how well it has been received:

“Excellent course, I will recommend it to others”

“As the Rickter Appraiser System is a positive focus, it will promote positive teams and very realistic goals”

This training focuses solely on staff appraisal using the Rickter Staff Appraisal System which has been developed around the Rickter Scale Process.

Through our experience and from feedback received on training evaluations, we identified a common gap exists around managers/supervisors delivery of staff appraisals/supervision. Quite often people have earned promotions and moved through a service or company and although they know their organisation systems extremely well, they have never received any kind of training around carrying out staff appraisal.

We are promoting the Rickter Appraiser training to address this skills shortfall and to offer a formal method for reporting positive staff outcomes and good practice. Some organisations are unhappy with the appraisal systems they currently have in place and are looking for a simple and effective replacement. We know that the Rickter Staff Appraisal System works, having used it very successfully within our own employee management programme for a number of years now.

The one day Rickter Appraiser course is ideal not only for those new to employee management, but also for anyone wishing to enhance their existing skills and implement a more formal system of appraisal and staff engagement.

The training costs £195.00 per person which includes a Rickter Scale Appraiser Board and access to the online Rickter Appraiser IMS (Information Management System) for recording action plans and outcomes. Lunch and refreshments are also included.

On completion of the training, you will receive a certificate to use Rickter in the capacity of staff appraisal and will leave equipped with all the tools you need to implement a new Appraisal System that straight away will help build motivation, helping create a stronger workforce.

Please complete our webform to register an interest in accessing future courses. Be sure to state your location and the number of places you would provisionally require.

Thank you so much to our first participants, Jan and George. We very much appreciate your input and feedback.

Choiceworks Newsletter, Issue 8, Winter 2013


Our latest Newsletter, Issue 8 is now available.

It’s a good read, covering our broad range of activities over 2013 and includes special updates and offers for our readers. Please click the image opposite to download your copy.

Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter @ricktercompany and mention Rickter using #RickterNews to be in with a chance to win an Overlay during December!

Rick Hutchinson to retire from The Rickter Company


Rick Hutchinson to retire from The Rickter Company

I am writing this letter to you all today to make the formal announcement that as of 31 May, Rick Hutchinson will be retiring from the Rickter Company he and I founded together. He is doing this for health reasons.

As well as being a formal letter dedicated to the contribution Rick has made to the Company, I want it also to be a personal letter on behalf of the team and myself.

I have known Rick – Thomas Frederick Hutchinson – since he first invited me to train his staff who were working with young offenders in a Probation-partnered voluntary sector project in Durham. That three-day course on Neuro-linguistic Programming (NLP) and Solution-Focused working  took place back in 1993.

Two weeks later he rang me to say how the course would change their way of working. Not only that, a couple of things that I had said during the course had particularly resonated with him, and as a result he had come up with an idea. Would I be interested in seeing something he had made?

Intrigued, I met him, and he showed me a rather fragile A4 sized board – a real Blue Peter special – with these ten horizontal scales constructed in plastic with paperclip sliders standing out against a colourful background. Each scale had the numbers one to ten written above.

This of course was the stroke of genius that over many reincarnations has become the Rickter Scale Board. That meeting also ignited a partnership that was to last for twenty years. My own part was to give a voice to those who used his creation by developing the language of the Rickter Scale Process.

And so we began to work together to refine the Board’s production – from Rick’s kitchen table to the factory of Screenprint (Peterlee) Ltd in County Durham;  to develop an Excel programme on floppy discs that could record the Rickter Interview; to provide Rick’s management team and the Home Office with evidence of distance travelled by the young offenders; and very specifically to record their personal journeys towards responsibility, a sense of purpose and direction – and in many cases a life now free of drugs, with better health, better relationships, better housing and sometimes even a job.

The rest, as they say is history.

Except that I do want to pay my own tribute to Rick’s invaluable contribution to the Company in time, dedication, professionalism and passion. I guess you could say, ‘no Rick, no Rickter’, and for every occasion that he and I have talked about work together, I believe there have been very few times that we have not engaged in further co-creation –  in sharing ideas, exploring possibility and coming up with something new. In fact there are still many projects that remain as potential applications, additional features or simply blue-sky thoughts that might one day help to fulfil our vision of a global enterprise, awakening individuals to choice, ownership and responsibility.

Based on the strong foundations built by Rick and I over the last twenty years, The Rickter Company already has ambitious plans agreed for its development and growth. For the present, I can only hint at the prospects ahead, by mentioning a brand new multi-platform online Rickter Scale Process, adventurous new international activity, and the creation of an additional Not-for-Profit Company, but which I look forward to telling you about in much more detail in the weeks to come.

So for now, Rick, from the team, company associates, business colleagues and over 20,000 practitioners who have been trained by The Rickter Company so far, here is our heartfelt THANK YOU. You will be greatly missed.

We wish you a happy retirement and both you and your family all the very best for the future.

Keith, your co-developer, co-Director and friend.

28 May 2013

Investors in People Review


The Rickter Company Ltd successfully completed our IiP Review on 4th April and are thrilled to now share some of the results below.

It was a pleasure working with our Assessor Anne who made the session really enjoyable. Here is an extract from the Report:

Report Extract 2013

What is coming up for Rickter in 2013?

What is coming up for Rickter in 2013?

Well for me at the moment it reads like a European Tour! I am off to Bulgaria in January to do a monitoring visit for the practitioners who are working on the Rickter Sustained Employment Model in Plevin.

flightIn February I’m heading back to Bulgaria with Keith, this time to the capital of Sofia to have a meeting with our European Partners around the Mobility Project we are working on. At the end of the month it will be over to Carpi in Italy to monitor our Italian Practitioners and have a meeting with our Transfer of Innovation Partners to look at how using the Rickter Scale is progressing in Italy, Greece and Germany and also to start planning our conference. Look out for it!  It will be held at Northumberland University Campus in Newcastle on the 4th September.

In March I will be off to Dublin, delivering some Rickter Scale Training. Please contact us on 01463 717177 if you would be interested in attending this open course, which is scheduled for the 7th March.

Later on in March I will be returning to Bulgaria again to monitor progress and offer support to our practitioners.

Romania calls in June for Keith and myself, as part of our Grundtvig Partnership where we are exploring support mechanisms for parents and professionals who are supporting children affected by social/media addiction.

September brings our Transfer of Innovation Project to an end and we will have everyone in Newcastle for this.

Meanwhile we will all be busy delivering training in the UK and working on new developments and the promotion of Rickter. I wonder when Rick made the first board on his kitchen table whether he thought it would become so far travelled….

Work Programme

Rick HutchinsonIt seems that there are more people applying for less jobs than ever before. There are many providers doing great work to meet the governments targets who are struggling to come anywhere near what is expected of them to get their payment by results.

So if they do not succeed does that mean they have failed?

On one level I guess they have – in terms of getting paid from the government, however what about all the good work they have done to get their clients ” Opportunity Ready”! That is improving their self esteem, confidence, CV writing and interview skills etc. Surely we have to give them not just credit for this work, but also financial help to continue to work with a difficult client group so that when the job market picks up they will then see the fruits of their labour when their clients are “Opportunity Ready”?

How do we measure these soft outcomes? Look no further than the Rickter Scale process. It is designed to assess, motivate and provide such evidence to funders and demonstrate value for money. We welcome enquiries from providers so we can help them to help others to tackle the unemployment situation with a new confidence and so that they can now demonstrate their effectiveness.

The ISO Curry

As we prepare for our next ISO Quality Management System Audit in January, I was reminded of this article written by our Quality Consultant Rob Graham.

Featured in one of our early newsletters, it offers some great advice around approaching ISO certification:

The ISO Curry

Choose Life

I recently attended a Choose Life Review Event at Stirling University. Choose Life  is the national strategy and action plan to prevent suicide in Scotland.

I deliver ASIST Training (Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training) in my area, which contributes to the outcomes of this report.  It was asked of all NHS Boards that they train 50% of frontline staff in suicide intervention skills and it was confirmed in March that all 14 Health Boards have succeeded in meeting the target and that 52% of targeted staff were trained in Scotland overall.

The report focuses on the training during 2007 – 2010 and the event was organised to bring together Health Board Leads, Choose Life Co-ordinators and Trainers.  There are many examples of great work and the event was an opportunity to share in these good practices and also to examine how to move forward. While a lot of the focus of this work has been on frontline Health Board Staff, there has also been input for different services, voluntary organisations and members of the public. There was a lot of discussion around the materials being used and their suitability for engaging with young people for example. There are some new developments around resources which are being put together at the moment.

One concern I had was about the need to raise awareness of the courses and advertise that they are open to anyone in the community to encourage more people to attend. The purpose is to help build a safer community around the risk of suicide and to remove the stigma attached to suicide. The number of people taking their life by suicide in Scotland has fallen considerably in the last three years and while we cannot say that this is due to the training being delivered, it was felt overall that it had made a significant contribution to the outcome.