I visited 18 services last week, one of which was our Carlton Avenue service in Harrow. I was there to present a £100 gift voucher to our Employee of the Month, Cesar Reyes. He is a fantastic member of staff and I have included an extract from the nomination that was sent in about him from his manager:
“Cesar understands the vision of CMG and continually reiterates this to his colleagues and family members. Cesar’s work colleagues respect and trust him and they value his advice. He has positive relationships with all the people he supports and encourages them to learn new skills, fulfil their potential and reach their set goals in life. I believe these characteristics represent all that is good in CMG.”
We recently re-launched our Employee of the Month scheme significantly increasing the value of the gift voucher that the winner receives. There are also gift vouchers for the people in second and third place and I am now going to the service where the winner works to give them their voucher in person. It’s all part of our efforts to demonstrate that we value and appreciate staff who do a fantastic job. On that note, one of the things we also try to do is to ensure that, where we take over services from other organisations, we work hard to make the new staff feel part of the CMG family. I was therefore very pleased when I visited 3 supported living services in Basingstoke last week where staff transferred to us from other providers, to hear that they were very happy with the way they had been treated and made to feel welcome by CMG.
When I visited Carlton Avenue I was extremely impressed with the range of activities that the people who live there are supported to participate in by the staff team, particularly given that they have profound and multiple learning disabilities. The service has a fantastic activity folder which contains large quantities of photos of people participating in a wide range of activities in the community and also at home.
On a less positive note, several services I visited are looking rather ‘weedy’ and I did pluck out a weed that was over 2 foot tall at one of our services, which will remain nameless. I know my obsession with weeds is well-known across CMG, but it is really important that services give a very positive first impression. The service that does this really well is Trafalgar House in Bexhill. The front garden always looks immaculate and gives a great first impression. I am including a photograph of it below.
Recruitment continues to be a challenge in certain parts of CMG. New staff are coming through but it is taking a lot of effort, particularly as we are very choosy and only want people with the right values. One of our services is having a pretty serious staffing crisis and we are having to transfer staff from other parts of the country to make sure that people living there are properly supported. Our agency usage is still higher than I would like and has crept above 1% of our total staff expenditure. I would like to get it back below 0.5%.
We received a complaint from a parent towards the end of last week following an incident involving their son. The Regional Director who oversees the service has been very responsive and has arranged an urgent meeting with the family to discuss the issue. However, it transpires that none of that would have been necessary if a member of staff dealing with the situation at the time had communicated more effectively with the parent. This is something we cover in our induction training for staff, but unfortunately is still not always practised.
We held our 2nd Driving Up Quality self assessment day yesterday. I will give more details of this in next week’s blog.