The Road To Outstanding – Publically Available Quality Ratings

18 Oct 2018

In a series of blogs supporting 5 videos recently recorded, 7 UK Care Provider CEOs discuss their Workforce observations and learning through hindsight. Introduced by John Pollaers and coinciding with the release of his Australian Workforce Strategy Report, their feedback is both candid and instructional.

Dr Jane Townson leads close to 4000 staff at Somerset Care, delivering Aged and Disability services across multiple business lines. Currently only 2% of services in the UK are rated as ‘Outstanding’ by the Care Quality Commission (regulator). Somerset has 8% of its services rated as ‘Outstanding’ and chasing more. The ratings provide a clear competitive advantage and whilst the journey is challenging, success is more about getting the basics right.

Values at the Heart and in the Operation
Look after the small things to gain the trust of clients and families so that you can deliver on the big things.

  • Customer – deep listening and resultant service design.
  • Care – not simply client services – including relationships and attitudes of stakeholders and suppliers.
  • Candor – speaking the truth openly and learning from mistakes.

Somerset Care hires and focusses on performance that is aligned to their key values. Strive for ‘Right people, right roles, right training, right support = right quality’.

Critical Lesson
Localisation: It is the local leader/Registered Manager who will make or break a service as their local autonomy, knowledge and accountability is critical.

Good to Outstanding
Being compliant will get a ‘Good’ rating but ‘Outstanding’ requires additional effort in the areas of innovation, evidence and demonstration of improved outcomes. Importantly, a clear focus on the person and giving them ‘agency’ is the pivotal action that delivers ‘Outstanding’. Revenue levels influence the quality of care, but industry analysis shows services with ‘inadequate’ Care Quality Commission ratings have higher staff costs than those rated ‘Outstanding’.

Finding those areas for improvement is done through deep listening and honest feedback. Also, they use technology, not to replace people but to provide transparency which allows a focus on areas that need improvement. Improving processes and performance in a tight commercial environment requires focus – you don’t have to ‘sheep dip’ all your staff.

Jane’s overall message
Don’t put regulators at the top of your priorities. This is a people business, engaging with and supporting people. Focus the business on customers, recruit for values, arm staff with knowledge and support to achieve results.

These reflections on a CDC environment videos and blog posts were created in a partnership between Altura Learning, Care Advantage Behavioural Screening and Neil Eastwood’s Recruitment Masterclass. The input from the 7 UK business leaders has been invaluable and the time and effort they have put in much appreciated. 

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