Promoting social inclusion, staff retention and the controversial issue of individuals’ benefit income

29 October 2015

I visited 13 services last week and was impressed with a number of examples of social inclusion which I noticed. This included, for example, a young woman who lives at Cleveland House and who has been supported to be an active volunteer working on behalf of her local children’s hospice and two young people living in Redhill who are active members of a mainstream Taekwondo club.
We continue to promote social inclusion and I do an email every week to everyone in CMG highlighting any examples of good practice that I have come across on my travels. We will also be publishing shortly our latest social inclusion newsletter which is packed full of great examples from around CMG of encouraging and supporting people to become active members of their community.

Recruitment continues to be a challenge for us, particularly in specific areas like Hampshire. Talking to other providers, it is not purely a problem for us. We have reviewed our staff turnover rates, which vary and in some areas, are higher than we would like. We are implementing a programme of workshops with managers to look at what we can do to improve our retention rates. We have also put together our ‘Next Steps’ programme, the aim of which is to provide a structured development programme for people in CMG with potential who want to be promoted and develop their career with us. Our mantra is that we want you to come to CMG for a career, not just a job.

In my blog this week, I want to highlight a concern, which I know will be controversial. We have a number of situations in CMG where families are appointee for their son or daughter. In principle, that is absolutely fine, however, on some occasions, families don’t pass over all of their son or daughter’s benefit income and it would appear on occasion, that this income is used to subsidise their household budget. I can think of people in CMG who aren’t able to participate in the range of activities they would like because their benefit income isn’t all passed over. We also have occasions where families hang on to an individual’s mobility car and use it for their own transport. I think this is unacceptable and to me it is a safeguarding issue. However, when we flag these concerns to Local Authorities, we often find they are very reluctant to challenge families. It is the people we support who lose out then and I would like to see the Local Authorities take a more active stance on this issue.

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