I managed to visit 18 services last week including 11 in Wales. I visited a couple of services where I noticed that standards had started to slip. To me that shows the importance of constant vigilance; it doesn’t take long for standards to drop even in services that you think are well managed. Whilst quality assurance systems are important, I don’t think you can beat walking around services and seeing for yourself what the atmosphere and quality is like. We are taking action to address the concerns that I had. They were relatively minor but indicated to me that the service was moving backwards rather than heading in the right direction.
On a more positive note, I was very pleased to see the great deal of person centred active support in evidence in our Welsh services. This includes service users being supported to do their own ironing and one person very rigorously and enthusiastically cleaning their own bathroom without any visible prompting from staff at all.
The new government green paper was issued for consultation last Friday on strengthening rights and choices for people to live in the community. I would encourage everyone to read and comment on it. I agree with the aspirations that it contains; my only concern is whether it will make a difference to people and their families on the ground. https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/strengthening-rights-for-people-with-learning-disabilities
I was very pleased to hear that two of our staff in CMG have been shortlisted for the National Learning Disability Awards. Congratulations to Karen Macmarters, who has been shortlisted in ’The Newcomer Award’. Karen is a Support Worker at one of our services in Dorking and has hit the ground running since starting at CMG, despite having no previous experience. She soon learnt to understand the complex needs of the people she helps support and has demonstrated excellent person centred communication. Michael Fullerton, our Clinical Director has been shortlisted for ‘The Sporting Chance Award’. Aside from the excellent work that Michael does on a daily basis in his clinical and quality role, he is also a fantastic advocate of healthy lifestyles and ensuring as wide a range of sporting options are available to the people we support. Michael is the inspiration behind CMG’s highly successful Annual Athletics Championships and has also set up a number of sporting enterprises including a CMG Options Academy which sees instructors from Tottenham Hotspur Foundation coaching individuals from CMG.
Last year, Sarah Evans, CMG’s Head of Learning and Development, won ‘The Trainer Award’ so we wish the best of luck to both Karen and Michael this year.