I only managed to visit seven services last week, so missed my target, although I was on leave for one day. I was in Wales on Thursday interviewing candidates for a new Regional Manager post that we have created to support the growing number of services we have in South Wales. I was extremely impressed with Jaymylee Colyer, currently the manager of our excellent Rogerstone House service. She did an outstanding interview and was appointed. It’s always great to ‘grown our own’.
One of my concerns at the moment is staff turnover levels in some of our services. I had an interesting conversation with some of our staff when I went to visit a service in Merton which has a particularly stable staff team and a low level of turnover. The staff told me that the reason turnover rates were so low is that the manager and deputy include them in decision making and that they also have an open culture where the management team actively share information with their staff.
This is clearly recognised good management practice which we are actively promoting through our Advanced Leadership Programme which we launched recently. The challenge for me is how we can help managers identify whether their style is helping or hindering staff retention.
I know all the managers in CMG personally and they are generally a great bunch of hard working and motivated people. However some of them may think that management involves telling people what to do and the key is helping them to learn that good management involves listening and sharing as much as instructing.
I know a number of CMG managers read my blog. I hope they can reflect on their management style and to ask themselves whether they are, I’m sure unintentionally, behaving in a way which their teams may perceive as slightly dictatorial rather than involving.
We are keen to play our part in developing effective community based services in line with the Winterbourne View programme. I don’t see a huge amount of progress nationally in commissioning really good alternatives to hospital care and it is something I feel passionate about, having spent a large part of my career being involved in closing some pretty dreadful institutional long stay hospitals. In order to try and move things along, CMG is going to be marketing its Crisis Team as a resource that will be available to Local Authorities who want to buy skilled staff support in order to help people in a crisis and avoid unnecessary hospital admission. To begin with, we will be offering this service in the London area. I have no idea whether there will be any take up, but as a national provider with expertise in supporting people who can present with significant challenges, I do think we should try and take a lead in this area.