Week in action

Andrea Sutcliffe, Chief Inspector of Adult Social Care at the Care Quality Commission.

It is a week since the publication of the Serious Case Review into Orchid View and our own internal report about the role of the CQC in this tragedy. I wrote about my reaction in last week’s blog where I was clear about my own personal commitment and CQC’s organisational commitment to translate our learning about what went wrong into meaningful action. Throughout the week I have reflected and been involved in working on ways to make that happen. The end of the week brought the opportunity to celebrate some of the good things in social care — but more of that later.

Carers Week

9–15 June was Carers Week — an opportunity for us all to think about the amazing 6.5 million people in the UK who care for a family member or friend. Every year two million people take on new caring responsibilities — something that will affect three out of five of us in our lifetime.

Caring can be very rewarding but also very demanding. Research carried out last year on behalf of the 9 charities behind Carers Week revealed the impact that caring can have on people’s lives, for example, 61% have suffered have suffered depression because of their caring role and 45% have given up work. The importance of providing better support for carers has been recognised in the new Care Act, which has introduced legal rights to services for carers for the first time.

It is important that service providers and public bodies like CQC also listen to what carers are telling us — particularly when they are sharing concerns about services. One of the recommendations of the Orchid View Serious Case Review was that CQC should ensure that inspectors speak with the relatives of residents. Our inspection teams already try to do this and it is a key aspect of the new approach we are testing at the moment for full implementation in October. The unique insight that family members and carers can provide is invaluable to us.

Design and delivery

I am sure it comes as no surprise to learn that translating our ideas about the new approach to the regulation and inspection of adult social care into practical reality does not happen by magic. It takes dedicated teams working hard across the organisation to make the necessary changes to systems, processes and procedures and then ensure everyone is trained. That needs to be properly co-ordinated in a sensible governance structure so that it all fits together. At CQC we do this through Design and Delivery Boards, where the different teams combine to review progress, assess risks and plan next steps.

Last week was a bit Design and Delivery Board heavy for me, one each for Adult Social Care; Market Oversight; and Registration. It reinforced for me how much we have to do, but with the voices of the Orchid View families loud in my head, how important it is that we do it right.

The great and the good

Over Friday night and into Saturday morning, the Queen’s Birthday Honours list was announced — and great to see our new Board member Robert Francis was knighted. The world of social care and disability campaigning was well represented, including some people I know personally. Elaine Edgar, the Department of Health policy lead for carers was awarded an OBE as was Sarah Pickup, Deputy Chief Executive of Hertfordshire County Council and former President of the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services. Bernard Walker, leading light at The College of Social Work was awarded an MBE. Miro Griffiths and Gavin Harding were both awarded MBEs for services to people with disabilities and learning disabilities respectively. Congratulations to them all.

Star of the show

Andrea Sutcliffe with Clenton Farquharson, whose MBE was announced in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list

But the stand-out award for me was the MBE for Clenton Farquharson for services to disabled people and the community in the West Midlands. I have had the pleasure of working with Clenton for over two years — first in the Think Local Act Personal Partnership where he is co-chair and now as a member of CQC’s eQuality Voices Group and the Adult Social Care Co-Production Group. He is also Chair of Birmingham Healthwatch.

Clenton describes himself on his website as ‘a black, disabled man with over twenty years practical experience and theoretical study in all aspects of equality, diversity, inclusion and accessibility’. I have benefited from his wisdom and insight and he has been a good critical friend to CQC. He modestly doesn’t say what a thoroughly lovely bloke he is on his website but many friends and colleagues took to twitter over the weekend to express their appreciation. This from Peter Hay, Strategic Director for People at Birmingham City Council is just one example:

“Huge congrats on the gong — richly deserved for your selfless and generous contribution, with fun on the way! Serious respect!”

The week ahead

Lots going on with the main work focus on the Board meeting on Wednesday — you can read the Board papers and even watch it live. I may even fit in a bit of watching the World Cup. What I am really looking forward to though is National Care Home Open Day on Friday when care homes across the country will be opening their doors and strengthening their links with their local communities. I hope the day goes well for everyone involved.

Enjoy your week.

Originally published at www.cqc.org.uk.