I visited 11 services last week but would like to highlight good practice in one particular service I actually visited the week before. Tuscany in Dorking, supports a group of men with autism. The staff team do a great job using visual aids to help people communicate their needs and make choices. I was very impressed to see on the wall in the house a number of visual representations of different types of exercise which the team are using to encourage the people who live there to be active. I was there at breakfast time and was also very impressed to see some excellent person centred active support with service users being very involved in preparing their own food.
There is no weed of the week winner this week as I didn’t see any significant weeds on my travels. Well done everybody! I did, however, visit another provider’s services and there were weeds everywhere; it really gave a poor first impression.
Last week saw the launch of Learning Disability England (LDE) at the House of Lords. A lot of people came to the event including a large number of people with learning disabilities. It was great to be at event where some of the speakers had learning disabilities and I thought it was a very nice touch when lifetime membership of LDE was awarded to a number of people with learning disabilities who had made a major contribution to the self advocacy movement. It was particularly inspiring that the awards were given by disabled athletes who had been winners in the Special Olympics. As you know, LDE is a new organisation representing people with learning disabilities, families and providers. I hope it will have a really powerful voice in shaping policy in the sector. I would encourage you to become members of LDE and CMG will pay for the membership fee for any of the people we support who want to play an active role in the organisation.
I have been reflecting on what makes for a high quality, person centred provider organisation. I think sometimes we can let things get overly complicated when it comes to thinking about organisations. In my view, it really comes down to 3 things: getting the right registered manager, getting the right line manager and creating the right culture. In CMG where we have a very good registered manager supported by a very good line manager, we have very few problems, people we support and their families are happy, quality ratings are very good and so is financial performance. Good managers look after their staff and need a culture that re-enforces the right values. The culture we have tried to create in CMG is one where people we support are at the heart of what we do, we champion and celebrate their achievements and we want staff to be proud to be part of our organisation and to make their career with us.