I am delighted that CMG has added a new and high quality provider organisation to its portfolio of services. Alderwood (www.alderwoodlla.co.uk) has joined us, bringing a great deal of expertise, particularly in supporting people with a diagnosis of Autism who present very significant challenges. Alderwood is based in Northamptonshire and currently provides seven services in the area that support some of the most complex people in the country. I am very impressed by the quality of their services and the high level of structure which they provide, together with excellent communication support, both of which are really important in supporting people with a diagnosis of Autism. I think CMG can learn a great deal from Alderwood and that they may also benefit from working with us. With their expertise, we are well placed to offer services, to people being discharged from assessment and treatment units as part of the transforming care programme.
I visited 10 services last week and was particularly impressed when I went to visit our Hillview service in Merstham, Surrey to see a young man who lives there, being supported to do his own ironing. CMG embraced person centred active support (PCAS) a number of years ago and I’m always delighted to see it in action. PCAS is a way of working with people that involves them fully in activities, with staff doing things with them, not for them.
Recruitment and retention of staff continues to be a challenge. Sarah Evans, our Head of Learning, Development and HR has facilitated workshops with managers across the country sharing best practice in staff retention. It is really important that new staff are nurtured and given the support they need, particularly if this is the first time they have worked in a care setting. We are seeing our agency usage, which is higher than I would like, and higher than we’ve had in CMG in many years, starting to come down in England. However, it has gone up in Wales and is higher there, than we have ever had before. Talking to other providers, there is a national problem with recruitment and retention of good support staff.
On a more positive note, we have started giving Long Service Awards to our staff this month. We had feedback during our Driving Up Quality self assessment day last year, that we don’t do enough to recognise long service. We discussed this with our staff representative groups across the country and are now writing to staff to thank them for their long service and giving gift vouchers of increasing value depending on length of service, when people reach 5, 10, 15 and 20 years with us. This is in addition to our Employee of the Month scheme where we give a gift voucher to the person who has the strongest nomination that month. There is also a second and third place prize each month. I was delighted to present the voucher in person to last month’s winner who was Phil Johnson from our Rogerstone House service in Wales. He received nominations from his manager and 2 of his regional managers. An extract from one of his nominations is below:
“Phil always receives positive comments from family members about how well he works with their sons. He also recently led an unannounced inspection visit without any of the management team present. The inspector said that Phil was very obliging, accommodating and his interaction with service users very positive. Phi l is also Social Inclusion Co-ordinator for the service as well as PBS mentor.”