Talking about Quality – the work of our Quality Team

  •  PaulR
  •  24/01/2022
  •  News

Talking about Quality – the work of our Quality Team

And why it’s important

The Quality Team are a group of people with learning disabilities who support local support providers with assessing the quality of their support services by using a series of questions that they’ve written to ask people with learning disabilities whether they’re getting the sort of support they really want.

This article explains a bit more about the work of the Quality Team and why it’s important.

The Quality Team

Rohan, Andrew and Jason – The Quality Team

What is quality?

Everyone’s ideas on quality are personal to them. When we chatted about what ‘quality’ means to us it could be watching Leicester City FC, Brighton and Hove Albion or even Manchester United. It could be travelling, or staying at home. It could be eating Chinese, or a nice curry, or trying different foods.

It could be going out to gigs, watching the wrestling, spending time with our friends but it could also be doing something that’s important to us like being a self-advocate.

As we chatted we all thought about how some of the things we see as ‘quality’ are similar and some are different. None are wrong.

This is why the work of the Quality Team is important. It’s led by people with learning disabilities asking questions that offer a different perspective. As a manager of a supported living service one said to us:

”It’s incredible, we’ve been asking ‘Karen’ these sorts of questions for years and never heard any of the things she’s asking about. Having someone with a learning disability ask these questions obviously makes all the difference.” Supported living manager

Or as Rohan (Quality Checker) says:

“The questions are based on our ‘manifesto for change’ – not the sort of questions the Care Quality Commission might ask. But it compliments their work.”  Rohan

Why the Quality Team is important

As Rohan says it compliments the work of the Care Quality Commission. Their work is to ask:

  • Are they keeping people safe and free from harm?
  • Are they being effective?
  • Are they caring?
  • Are they responsive to people’s needs?
  • Are they well-led?

Our visits help add some colour to this by asking our questions around:

  • Home life
  • Community life
  • Social life
  • The support people receive
  • How people are supported to spend their free time – is it tailored to what people want?

The team are also good at making observations around where people live and the sorts of interactions that people have with their staff.

Writing the reports

After a visit they write a report, and also film a version of this, and present it to the people who live there and their support staff. These are written in an easier to read format.

The reports will look at things that they think are really good as well as make observations or ask questions about things that they thought might need to be looked at.

They also write an action plan which is an important part of the process.

As Andrew says

“It’s not about talking, it’s about doing something about it!” Andrew

The action plans are also followed up on over the year.

Real-life visits over Zoom ones

The team have been trying Zoom visits but they say they just don’t find out the things you can when you visit someone’s home. Here’s what the team think about Zoom meetings:

  • You can’t observe interactions
  • You can’t spend time getting to know people
  • You loose a sense of companionship
  • You don’t pick up on things like the decorations, whether people have photos or personal objects

As Jason says:

“It’s not a natural way to find out information” Jason

There’s always that thing that’s hard to explain too, but it’s the atmosphere of a place, that impression you pick up when you visit somewhere.

Also (and this is giving away a trade secret) but the team always like it when they’re offered a cup of tea. It shows that the support staff respect them and it also helps break the ice.

Why it’s a ‘quality’ project

These are the Quality Team’s own words on what are the most important aspects of the project:

“We’re the experts, so we can ask these questions”

“It shows that people with learning disabilities can do a paid job”

“It’s about supporting people with learning disabilities to lead great lives”

We’re hoping to be starting our quality visits again soon and we’ll be working new questions in to our visits to find out how people are being supported to stay safe but to also stay active following the lockdowns and the lifting of the Covid restrictions.





Copyright © 2021 Stay Up Late. | Web Strategy and Design by