I visited 14 services last week including our new Woodvale service in Croydon and our Gleneagle Road service in Streatham, both of which are supported living schemes developed with housing association partners. It’s early days, but in both cases people are settling in well and the team seems to be establishing itself positively. I was also pleased to see person centred active support going on at Oakdale Road where people living there were involved in making some delicious looking carrot cake. Implementation of person centred active support is still patchy in CMG and we need to make sure it is implemented consistently across the organisation. Whenever we are doing domestic activities with people, we should always be doing it with, not for them. If the member of staff ever finds themselves cooking a meal for someone they support, then they need to reflect on why that person isn’t participating to whatever level they are able.
I am very pleased to see the increased activity around CMG in encouraging people we support to get paid and voluntary employment. For example, I was at Midway on Friday where they are looking at a range of options for helping people they support into employment. Every week for the last couple of years I have done a brief social inclusion campaign email around the organisation highlighting an example I have come across during the previous week. This week I would like to highlight the fact that social inclusion is identified as one of the characteristics CQC has found in services rated as Outstanding. The full list of characteristics of Outstanding services is as follows:
– People are at the centre and staff want to give them a life not just a service.
– Good leadership extends beyond the manager and those values are cascaded and inspire staff.
– Open culture where people who use services/staff/relatives have shared views and issues.
– Strong links with local community.
– 75% have registered manager in post consistently.
– A can do, will do attitude and dedicated staff.
– Safety is actively promoted. There is effective oversight of care and staff communication.
I also had a number of discussions about pay last week, including at one of our staff rep meetings. I have conversations about pay several times a week. I have been trying to explain to colleagues that we are working hard to get inflation increases from our funding authorities and when we do we will use that to pay our staff more. We have already found £600,000 this year, mainly from efficiencies, to give staff pay rises which were announced about a month ago. This is considerably more than we have received so far in inflation increases from our commissioners. We have now written four separate letters to every authority who buys services from CMG. To date, only 28% of those organisations have bothered to reply to any of the four letters. I find it odd and, to be honest, discourteous to simply ignore letters and not even bother replying. I have now written to the lead councillors in those areas for adult social care asking to have a meeting with them to discuss the need to give CMG a fee rise to reflect inflation cost increases. To date I have had one lead member reply and agree a date to meet me.