Andrea Sutcliffe, Chief Inspector of Adult Social Care at the Care Quality Commission.

Breaks from our day-to-day routines are important for all sorts of reasons — we may take on a new challenge, relax a little, enjoy quality time with loved ones, have a lie-in, hike in beautiful countryside, experience a different culture, indulge in good food and wine. Whatever takes our fancy will hopefully bring us back to those day-to-day routines refreshed, with our resilience enhanced and our resolve renewed.

It may also help us to see things in a different way, give us a new perspective. Because there are always different views to consider and while we may not always agree, taking time to understand is usually worthwhile.

Whose shoes?

I’ve been thinking about this during my two week holiday in the beautiful Cumbrian countryside (with side trips to the Edinburgh Fringe and the North Yorkshire Moors). I am indebted to my Twitter friend , who has created , an interactive facilitation tool that helps people using services and those working in them to walk in each other’s shoes and see things from these different perspectives. She started in the world of dementia care and is now making a great impact in . Her collection of Whose Shoes blogs (especially from her 93 year old ) also make fascinating reading.

Dementia care and maternity services are areas rich in diverse and challenging views as I know well from my experience of managing both at different times during my career. But so is the world I now inhabit — trying to ensure people using adult social care services receive high quality care that is safe, compassionate and effective.

Quality care

My role as a regulator and Chief Inspector gives me a particular perspective, shaped by CQC’s purpose and remit, our organisational values of Excellence, Caring, Integrity and Teamwork as well as my personal commitment and background. But there are many other perspectives: the public and people who use services, their carers and families, staff working in adult social care, providers running services, commissioners and funders, and other national partners. All of us involved in commissioning, delivering or regulating care services have an individual and joint responsibility to listen to the voices of people using services and to act to make a difference. We may not get it right all the time, but we also have a responsibility to acknowledge and learn from our mistakes to ensure we improve what we do and how we do it.

None of these groups are homogeneous nor are people’s reactions the same. Some will look at, for example, CQC and think we do too little, others complain we do too much. One person’s reasonable explanation is another’s defensive response. One group doing the right thing may not feel like it for others affected.

In the world of care, each of the groups I highlighted has an important impact and influence on quality. Understanding the different roles and perspectives is essential for making the necessary collective effort to get it right for the people who really matter — those who may need adult social care now and in the future.


On holiday I started using the hashtag #ShoesWithViews (which Gill with her typical “just do it” approach has already adopted and developed). It’s a fun way to remind ourselves that people do walk in different shoes and have different perspectives. Respecting that and working positively with it will help us all in the tough times.

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Originally published at .

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