We had our first ever CMG Family Conference on Saturday and I was delighted that it was so well attended and went so well. We had around 80 family members attending and the feedback was overwhelmingly positive. People said that they found it very informative and appreciated the opportunity to meet other relatives of people we support. The idea of the conference came from our Driving Up Quality Code self assessment day last year when we identified that there was scope to improve the way we communicate with families. We worked with a number of family members who kindly gave up their time to help us plan the format for the conference. We had two excellent keynote speakers; Andrea Sutcliffe, Chief Inspector for Adult Social Care for CQC and Viv Cooper, Chief Executive of the Challenging Behaviour Foundation.
We also held the four following workshops:
Positive Behaviour Support – promoting positive coping skills and reducing challenging behaviour
Best practice in supporting people on the autistic spectrum
Transparency and quality in CMG – How do you really know what is going on?
The Mental Capacity Act and DoLS (Deprevation of Liberty Safeguards) – challenges and changes
I visited 10 services this week and was particularly impressed with two things; the excellent implementation of person centred support at 5 Fengates in Reigate, Surrey where I observed the people living there being actively involved in a wide range of domestic activities including cooking and cleaning. I was also very impressed when I visited a service in Sutton to meet the Regional Director who has been there since 7 o’clock in the morning and was carrying out an incredibly thorough quality audit. It is this sort of attention to detail that really makes a difference in ensuring our services are of high quality.
I also went to a ‘market warning’ event with a Local Authority. The purpose of the event was to warm up local provider markets that this Local Authority is about to carry out a re-tendering exercise and what objectives they are trying to meet. I go to events like this reasonably regularly and they usually involve Local Authorities giving a presentation followed by some questions and answers. The one I went to this week followed that format and it made me think that perhaps Local Authorities are missing a trick in not finding more creative ways to really engage and have conversations with their providers. In my opinion the split between commissioners and providers has created an element of suspicion and mistrust from both parties when really what we need to be doing is working together to help vulnerable people have the best possible quality of life.