Brightening Minds Training

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By brighteningminds, Mar 1 2019 08:31AM

'CQC are coming, CQC are coming...' said in the style of Henny Penny 'the sky is falling'; it's often the way Providers feel when they hear the news that the inspector is calling.

Sometimes we don't even know the inspector is going to call; we might have an idea, we might know they are due, but when the day will be we just don't know.

So thinking about that what will help us to feel prepared, confident and ready to showcase the quailty of our service whatever the day and whoever comes to call?

Here we have put together some top tips particularly focused around 'Well-Led' for you to consider.

1. Use the information CQC give you.

CQC’s website is a really useful (if sometimes challenging to navigate) resource. The CQC has produced detailed information about the areas that its inspectors are looking at, and specific questions that they should be able to answer when inspecting a service. Becoming familiar with the two particular CQC documents will give you insight into what the inspector is looking for, and different sources of evidence to demonstrate this: will take you to CQC’s Key lines of enquiry, prompts and ratings characteristics for adult social care services. This really useful document helps you to consider where your service is currently and check that you have the basics in place, and look at what other things you can do to enhance your service delivery to provide even better support to you customers. is a document that suggests some possible sources you can use to describe and evidence your organisational compliance and the quality of service delivery around each specific key line of enquiry.

When you look at these documents they can seem large and overwhelming so maybe take heed of top tip number 3 when formulating how to approach this!

2. Identify where you are currently in quality of service delivery, where you want to be and how you are going to get there.

Where do you rate your organisation as a service provider currently? Have a think, and be really honest with yourselves, maybe ask your team for input. Look at what CQC say a good social care provider will be doing and consider if this describes your service.

Next think about where you would like to be and why. What are the challenges in your way to achieving this?

Remember that we can always improve so being really honest at this point about what some of the challenges or weaker areas are is a great basis for a conversation with your inspector about how well you know your service and what you are doing to make it even better.

3. We are always stronger together…this is a team responsibility and needs a team approach.

Share out the responsibility of this inspection process just as you share out the responsibility for care and support delivery. If you are employing people and trusting them to deliver a service in your organisation’s name then why not seek their cooperation in making this service the best it can be!

Involve the team in identifying your current position; perhaps use the ratings characteristics referred to in tip 1 in a team meeting or supervision to make a baseline assessment of the service currently. Then talk to people about what they think you could all do to provide an even better service.

What are people most proud of about their work? Enable people to speak about the great things they do to instill a culture of positivity and to celebrate the great things the team does already.

Perhaps allocate roles around the key lines of enquiry to ensure everyone takes a lead on one area to feed back to the Registered Manager. Remember this is about everyone’s participation and input!

4. Know your service, and tell people what you know!

You are the experts in your service, in the people it serves and the staff who deliver the service. The CQC inspector’s expertise is in the key lines of enquiry and applying those to what they see, hear and understand about a service.

If you aren’t explicit about what your service does and how that makes a difference to the lives of the people you support, how will the inspector know? They might do some digging and exploring to find out, but make it easy for them by having examples to talk about, and by sharing information about the great things you do (appropriate sharing of course) with all the stakeholders of your service and all of your partners.

If everyone who ‘shakes hands’ with your service or receives a service from you feels positive about it then the continuous message an inspector receives will be positive.

5. Use your incidents to continuously improve your service.

We dread them, we lose sleep over them, and we hate the paperwork they create. However reality tells us that sometimes things go wrong. One of the best and most helpful things an organisation can do is honestly report every incident and then use this honest report to grow and improve.

Celebrate the staff member who reports the most to encourage people to report! (I may be being over exuberant here but we need to be more positive about incident reporting.)

6. Value your values!

Time for a bit of research. Ask 10 people of all different roles or contact in your organisation what the organisations values are. Could they answer? If so fabulous, now how do they relate to the key lines of enquiry? If not then here is another development opportunity.

Your values are there to guide your service and to give confidence to people receiving the service of what they can expect you to do. However if we are to work to the values we really need to know them.

Find creative ways to embed these values; map them to the key lines of enquiry and build your supervisions, audits, team meetings, training and service planning around them. Sing them, act them out, rap them, be as creative as you like. But make sure everyone knows them, and knows what they mean for their role in the organisation.

7. Impact impact impact! The ‘so what’ question.

When talking to people about your service, when auditing your service, when managing your team, when describing what it is you do, how often do you ask yourself ‘so what’?

We think it’s a really helpful question in enabling you to refocus on why you are doing what you are doing, whether it is truly beneficial or just a process, and who it impacts on and how.

What difference does the support you provide make to the people you provide it to? What is your impact and how do you measure it?

Following an incident what improvements or changes have you put in place? What was the impact of this change? So what?

8. A portfolio of your achievements will give you organisational confidence.

Having evidence to back up and inform the conversation you have with your CQC inspector is really valuable, and preparing a portfolio of useful evidence and information is one way that you can do this.

Gather feedback from customers, families, commissioners, other disciplines and other services that you partner with. Show your complaints and how you use them to inform service improvement, dissect an incident report and investigation, and use all of this information as evidence of how well you know your service.

We find case studies can be helpful in making the link between what you do and the impact it has. An inspector isn’t going to have time to look through years of care and support plans for someone, so if you can capture some information about the support you have provided and the impact it has in a case study it gives a snapshot of some really positive work.

We have a suggested template for a case study for you to follow available here:


By brighteningminds, Jun 26 2018 09:32PM

Picture the scene..It’s 20.30 on a cool spring evening and I’ve broken down on the A1. 20 miles from home and 430 miles into a 450 mile round trip. I’m a tad fed up; there may be a little ‘bleep’ word or two, and I might have fallen out with Agnes, my trusty and elderly Vauxhall Astra. (Bear with me I promise this is going somewhere.)

I ring my breakdown service provider. A helpful and pleasant customer service person tells me that I am a high priority due to being a woman travelling alone and on the side of the motorway at night. That means someone is going to be with me within an hour. Thank goodness.

No sooner have I put the phone down than the recovery man himself rings me and we work through where exactly I am on the motorway. He’s 20 minutes away. Yay! However towards the end of our conversation he says ‘oh sorry Clare, they’ve actually cancelled the job and I’ve to go somewhere else. It must mean there’s someone closer to you though. Take care.’

2 hours, a dead phone, trench foot, 3 nettle stings and a stream of bad language later arrives a recovery driver from another firm. Turns out I’ve been demoted in terms of importance, and then passed on to another subcontractor working on behalf of my service provider.

He says he can only take me to a place of ‘safety’ and then I’ll be dumped to await the original recovery firm. What did confident, mighty, feisty me do at this point folks? Well I cried….

Put your violins and tissues away; I made it home and lived to tell the tale. And cancelled my breakdown provider the next day… But not before reflecting on their values and telling everyone I know (and many people I don’t with the power of facebook) about my shoddy experience.

Courtesy, Care and Expertise is the promise they make to the people who use their service. So why would I describe my interaction with them as powerless, out of control and overwhelmed?

Moving to healthcare: the industry is different but the sentiment is the same. How would I have felt if I’d been in need of care and support and treated so carelessly and made to feel so unimportant? Surely the impact would have been greater because this is about my life and my quality of life.

So how does an organisation with a focus on its values deliver a better quality service?

Well quite simply everyone knows what we are striving for. If the people you support, their families and friends, the team you work with, and all of your stakeholders know and understand the organisations’ values then everyone knows what they can expect and what is expected of them.

Values support us in recruiting the right people. We can teach people the skills they need to undertake the physical aspects of a role, but it’s helpful to understand what they find important in their approach to supporting people, and to see if their values align with ours.

When those right people are part of our team values help us to support them in their role and grow their skills and knowledge. Why not build your staff supervision around your values? When encouraging staff to talk about what they are most proud of relate it to the values for example to reinforce the organisations’ aims.

Values help steer us. Before changing the way we do things or taking on a new service have we thought about how it fits with our values? If the two don’t fit don’t make them.

Measure and evidence your impact by reflecting on your values. Think about the difference you make for the people you support. What do they say about the support you give them and what difference does your support make to their lives? How is this reflected in your values? Describing how your values map the key lines of enquiry will ensure that while your values are central to your organisation and your mark of quality, you are also delivering a service that is compliant with the characteristics that CQC measure it against.

Ok I know we aren’t living in a perfect world, and I realise that values aren’t the solution to every challenge. But if we are going to put the effort into creating them, use them to describe the service we want to provide, then let’s make sure we get the basics right like ensuring everyone knows what they are and what they mean. Ensuring the people that receive our service, work for our service and liaise with our service know that we mean what we say, and we work hard to achieve it.

Let’s be the best we can be, not the disappointing breakdown service. I think there’s value in that…

By clareflynn, Aug 14 2017 03:56PM

Here at Brightening Minds we spend time with managers in the adult health and social care sector who want to provide great leadership and direction to their valued employees. Their aim is to provide excellent care to people they support. Conversation often turns to how difficult it can be to keep up to date with all the information 'out there' to support providers across the domiciliary, residential and nursing sector to deliver good and outstanding services to their customers. It seems that the combination of having an awareness about currently available resources and limited time to immerse yourself in even one or two of these useful and essential documents, whilst knowing these are directly relevant to your service delivery, can result in a sense of being overwhelmed, feeling anxious and often isolated and lonely in your job role. It is a constant nag in your mind that can sap your energy.

These feelings are certainly not ones that result in us behaving as confident and effective leaders of our services, the type of leader that we would want to be for our well thought of staff teams who want to be effectively supported by their managers to be the best they can be.

We gave some thought to this at Brightening Minds and came up with a solution that we believe will go some way to address this challenge faced by many managers. We consulted with providers across the sector about what would be a useful way to support them to be effective managers, with increased confidence in what they say and do is informed by up to date research, legislation, current guidance and good practice, that they can easily apply with their staff teams when delivering their service every single day.

Brightening Minds Resource Bank was born. Our people at Brightening Minds act as a sector filter, identifying resources, signposting their relevance and explaining how current resources may be applied to services to ensure compliance. More than that, this enables you to be the confident and effective provider you want to be. Brightening Minds Resource Bank will save managers time; time being one of the most precious commodities when being responsible for service delivery in a rewarding yet challenging sector.

The Resource Bank forum enables managers to share tricky and challenging issues with each other and all of us at Brightening Minds. This will give us the opportunity to co ordinate working together, for the benefit of the whole sector through the sharing of operational expertise to find realistic solutions that are practical and maybe even innovative!

Brightening Minds Resource Bank aims to support managers to deliver effective and quality leadership to their staff teams, resulting in their employees feeling well supported and enjoying job satisfaction in their health and social care role. In turn a team that functions effectively will deliver the highest quality care with the greatest and most positive impact for the people they care for. How could CQC not want to celebrate that with you?

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