Nick Gradwell, Expert by Experience brings his skills to our recruitment panel.

In early November Expert by Experience, Nick Gradwell, was asked to join a CQC interview recruitment panel seeking to select someone for a vacancy in our Public Involvement team.

Describing his panellist experience as rewarding, Nick talks about how the role made him feel and his approach to the task…

“I was both very pleased but very nervous. It’s been many years since I last did any such work, and in the past COVID months I’d only assisted in one inspection, doing a telephone survey.

In the event though, it was in my training and work as an Expert by Experience that I realised I already had most of the necessary skills.

I joined two CQC involvement team officers doing assessments of candidates’ case studies and presentations, and assisting at interviews. It has all made me feel that my role as an Expert by Experience has given me transferable skills… which is perhaps no longer so essential for me now I’m semi-retired, but nice just the same! We all benefit from a bit of confidence building. It was also positive to be part of a team again, even if remotely.

Nick Gradwell, Expert by Experience.

For the past few years I’ve mainly done phone survey work for Choice Support, my employer and this now remains the case due to the pandemic. My two CQC colleagues were keen to help me overcome my nerves, and they made adjustments to the process by which the interviews were conducted due to my partial vision.

I was able to use my standard phone to join the remote sessions using Microsoft teams which is like using Zoom and gives everyone on-screen sight and sound contact.

I only had sound contact so I checked with everyone that they could hear me ok, and my fellow panel members led the sessions by setting out the order of activities so everyone was comfortable.

I really felt for the candidates who all seemed passionate and/or very nervous about their contributions. It was very inspiring to hear how people had so much to offer the work, and I recall how much we in the panel had to check and re-check our findings even though we had all reached very similar conclusions. In my usual work with individual CQC inspectors I try to set out my own findings, but I avoid drawing conclusions as these are for the inspector. As part of the panel however I did also need to state my own conclusions and I took notice of how this had to be supported by firm findings, usually specific examples of what candidates were saying. It was very intense but rewarding after several sessions when we reached a decision.

I hope that other Experts by Experience will also get the opportunity to contribute to CQC recruitment panels this way. The perspective that I was able to provide was hopefully both relatively external but also one that has been honed by the disciplines of my work as an Expert by Experience. The CQC already takes external involvement very seriously, but from my knowledge of my fellow Experts by Experience I feel they would help CQC to make good involvement and equality practice even more like common practice if our experiences and diversity are applied this way.

Finally, for the benefit of other Experts by Experience, if you ever get asked to join this work, it’s challenging, enormously enjoyable and tremendously rewarding.”

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