Together we are more than the sum of our parts

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

In the column I write for our monthly provider newsletters, I recently shared how CQC uses coproduction to develop our policies and approach, and why this is so important.

I do appreciate that coproduction may be seen by some as just another bit of jargon. So, what does it really mean? One of our key partners Think Local Act Personal uses this definition:

‘Professionals and citizens sharing power to design, plan and deliver support together. It’s about recognising that everyone has an important contribution to make to improve quality of life for people and communities’.

Recognising everyone’s contribution gets to the heart of why we use coproduction at CQC — by bringing a diverse group of people, providers, staff, commissioners, voluntary and community sector and national organisations together, we can learn from everyone’s knowledge and experience and feel confident that we can make the right decisions about how we regulate services.

Last week we tested out a new approach to coproduction for CQC; we gathered people from across health and social care to discuss some of the big issues that impact the whole sector. We usually have coproduction discussions in smaller groups — adult social care, primary care, and healthcare — but we wanted to put into practice the lessons from Beyond Barriers by working more collaboratively across sectors in our coproduction activity.

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To make sure we had a diverse group on the day, we asked for expressions of interest from those people and organisations already involved in our smaller coproduction groups. This included Experts by Experience and Speak Out groups (a network of marginalised and disadvantaged community groups) who are central to our coproduction activity — we want to make sure that we hear from those vitally important voices that don’t get listened to enough. Sign up to our newsletters if you want to hear about future opportunities to take part. We’ve listed the organisations that took part this time at the bottom of this blog — as you can see it’s a long list and You can’t do coproduction if no-one joins in and I am very grateful to everyone who contributed their time and ideas.

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Our hunch that bringing everyone together would spark some interesting conversations was spot on! The day was full of enthusiasm for working together to find solutions to some of the challenges CQC and the sector faces. We talked about:

· the findings and recommendations from our reviews of local systems

·how CQC manages its relationships with different stakeholders

· proposals for changing how we structure our register of services

· how we can evolve our coproduction approach to make it more effective and inclusive.

It was great to welcome Ian Trenholm, our new Chief Executive to the event. On only his second day in the job, Ian spoke about the powerful perspectives everyone brings to the conversation about improving health and care systems and how we can work together to both improve what CQC does and how we do it.

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It was a brilliant day and I’m looking forward to facilitating more conversations across health and social care in future. Attendees told us that the cross sector element of the day ‘enriched the discussions’ and that ‘it was really useful to hear different opinions from different sectors, we need to do more of this’. I couldn’t agree more!

The big take home message for me was that together we are more than the sum of our parts. By working together, we can find solutions to the challenges we come across and make progress in improving the quality for everyone who uses health and social care services. I’ll leave you with the commitments that myself and my fellow chairs for the day, Chief Inspector of General Practice Professor Steve Field, and Deputy Chief Inspector of Hospitals Amanda Stanford, have made to do just that.

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Catch up on the online conversations that took place on the day by following #CQCcoproduction on Twitter.

Who took part:

· Age UK

· Amos Grove Medical Centre

· Association for Real Change

· Association of Directors of Adult Social Services

· British Medical Association

· British Medical Association GPs Committee

· Brookvale Healthcare

· Cambridgeshire Local Medical Committee

· Canterbury and Ashford Clinical Commissioning Groups

· Care England

· Carers Trust

· Carers UK

· Central London Community Healthcare NHS Trust

· Cosham Court Nursing Home

· Coventry and Warwickshire NHS Partnership Trust

· Diabetes UK

· EngAgeNet

· Equality and Human Rights Commission

· Experts by Experience

· Friends of the Elderly

· Galanos House

· General Medical Council

· Hall Green Health

· Health and Care Professions Council

· Healthwatch Bolton

· Healthwatch Waltham Forest

· Healthwatch Worcestershire

· Humber Teaching NHS Foundation Trust

· Jewish Care

· Leeds and York Partnership NHS Foundation Trust

· Leonard Cheshire Disability

· Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman

· MacIntyre

· MacMillan Cancer Support

· National Association of Care and Support Workers

· National Care Forum

· National Dignity Council

· National Institute for Health and Care Excellence

· National Institute for Health Research

· NHS Dartford, Gravesham and Swanley and NHS Swale Clinical Commissioning Groups

· NHS England North (Yorkshire and the Humber)

· NHS Improvement

· NHS Providers

· Older Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Trans Association

· Rethink Mental Illness

· seAp Advocacy

· Skills for Care

· Social Care Institute for Excellence

· Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust

· Tees, Esk and Wear Valleys NHS Foundation Trust

· The Practice Group

· Think Local Act Personal

· Turning Point

· United Kingdom Homecare Association

· Voluntary Organisations Disability Group

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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