Debbie Ivanova, Director for People with a Learning Disability and Autistic People updates on the work of the Supported Living Improvement Coalition
We launched the Supported Living Improvement Coalition in February 2022. It is an action group which brings together people with experience of supported living services, their relatives and representatives, care providers, charities, and local authorities among others. The Care Quality Commission (CQC) set up the coalition, but that doesn’t mean we ‘own’ it. It is very much a shared group, with everyone involved seen as equal partners.
The coalition was set up because of concerns about the variation in people’s experience of supported living services. We wanted to bring people together to identify and embed the improvements we need to see.
Key to our work is making sure the views of people in supported living are at the heart of the coalition. Every meeting starts with someone sharing their lived experience. We know this is valuable for everyone involved. It acts as a grounding force and reminder for why we’re all there.
We meet to explore key themes and understand what we can do to improve services for people. The group has identified 5 areas of focus:
- Staff must have the right knowledge, motivation and positive culture to support people to live their best lives.
- People should receive high-quality care and support that understands and meets their individual needs to allow them to be active members of their local community.
- There should be excellent, joined-up working where everyone understands their role.
- Person-centred housing and home options must be flexible and start with the individual.
- Regulation must have people’s voice and that of their loved ones at heart, by listening well and being accessible.
We must maintain our momentum to tackle inconsistency in the safety and quality of supported living. We have a shared responsibility to promote outcomes for people that support their quality of life and their real inclusion in society as equal citizens. Together we must change things for the better and turn our ideas into action and reality.
We will convene the coalition up until the end of 2022. As a group, the coalition is deciding how it will take the work forward. For our part, we will continue to focus on how to improve how we regulate supported living services. We will keep the voices of people and their loved ones at the heart of what we do.
We have completed a programme of supported living inspections. The aim of these was to help us better understand the experience of people, staff and providers. We are reviewing our findings and will bring together the views of partners involved in the services we inspected. We’ll share our learning, celebrate and share good practice, and identify where we need collaborative support.
We are only one part of the puzzle. To make real change we need continued support from providers of supported living services, local authorities, commissioners, charities, government and other health and social care stakeholders. We need to continue hearing — and listening — to people with lived experience, their families and representatives. We all have skills, knowledge, experience and resources to bring. Together we can help improve supported living services for all who use them.