Monthly column for providers and professionals working in adult social care from Debbie Westhead, Interim Chief Inspector of Adult Social Care.

Thank you for coming back to read my column this month and I hope that you have managed to enjoy some of the sunshine we have experienced in the past couple of weeks. It was a welcome surprise to me, but according to weather reports I do not think the warm temperatures are here to stay in and in next month’s column I may be warning of the dangers of snow again — the joys of the British weather!

In adult social care so many of the pressures and struggles that we, as a sector, face are linked to the difficulty providers have recruiting and retaining staff, often due to a negative perception of the roles available and what they involve. It is therefore music to my ears that the Department of Health and Social Care has this month launched a national recruitment campaign promoting the wide range of roles in adult social care. The campaign, titled ‘Every Day is Different’, highlights the variety of the roles in adult social care and the career paths that are possible. As someone who started working in adult social care as a care assistant at seventeen I welcome this with open arms. There are a whole host of careers available in adult social care and I hope that this campaign is successful in promoting these and helps providers to recruit people with the right values and attitudes, as well as skills. You can find out more about the campaign on the Every Day is Different website.

There are a whole host of careers available in adult social care and I hope that this campaign is successful in promoting these.

During February we also introduced a new way of reporting from inspection — I hope you will agree this is a positive change. Reports will be clearer to the reader, as well as being easier and quicker for inspectors to produce. One of the main changes is that after the registered manager receives the draft report, the inspector will call them to talk through the evidence. We have found during the pilot stage of the project that it has helped providers to understand more clearly how the inspector came to their judgements and to clarify issues and concerns. Because of this, some challenges that may have been made previously have been avoided and this means reports are being published more quickly — a win, win for all of us in my opinion.

This month I also gave an interview to BBC breakfast relating to their coverage of the yearly increases in statutory notifications from supported living and homecare providers in relation to people with a learning disability. Whilst we never want to see an increase in cases where care is not being delivered in the way it should, I want to stress that a rise in the number of notifications over the past 8 years doesn’t necessarily mean that people are more at risk. A number of factors sit behind this increase, including a better understanding of what needs to be reported, a more robust system for capturing this information, and, importantly, the fact that the home care and supported living sector has grown by more than a quarter since 2011. However, where we can identify that people are at risk we have, and will, use the full force of the law to stop poor care from happening. I also see this as an opportunity to once again stress the importance of the sector as a whole working together, including local authority commissioners, government and providers, as well as many other bodies, to strengthen adult social care overall and act accordingly to keep people safe.

However, where we can identify that people are at risk we have, and will, use the full force of the law to stop poor care from happening.

March is set to be another busy month as we come to the end of the financial year and possibly a return to colder temperatures. Until next time, take care…

We make sure health and social care services provide people with safe, effective, compassionate, high-quality care and we encourage care services to improve.

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