The raison d’etre of Bettal Quality Consultancy is to support managers to achieve high quality services. In this blog, I take a look at the Social Care commitment which aims to support people to deliver high quality services.
The Social Care Commitment was launched in 2012 by the Department of Health along with Skills for Care. It is the adult social care sector’s promise to provide people who need care and support with high quality services. It has been designed by people working in the sector, so it is easy to do and will have a real impact in workplaces. It’s also seen as a key way of increasing the public’s confidence in social care services.
Social Care Commitment Statements
The Social Care Commitment is made up of seven statements, with associated ‘I will’ tasks that address the minimum standards required when working in social care. Seven statements for employers, seven statements for employees – for each statement there is guidance which explains clearly what is and isn’t meant by the statements.
Statement 1: I will take account of potential employees’ values, attitudes and behaviours when recruiting new staff.
Statement 2: I will provide thorough induction for all new staff and for those changing job roles.
Statement 3: I will provide timely, appropriate and accessible education, learning and development opportunities to enable my employees to develop and strengthen their skills and knowledge.
Statement 4: I will encourage everyone I employ to sign up to the Social Care Commitment and to commit to any codes, standards or registration systems applicable to their job role.
Statement 5: I will take responsibility for the values, attitudes and behaviours that my employees display at work, including upholding and promoting equality, diversity and inclusion.
Statement 6: I will regularly monitor the skills and behaviour of everyone I employ, ensuring that feedback is encouraged from anyone they support or have direct contact with, including families and carers.
Statement 7: I will work to ensure a positive culture and working environment where all employees are supported to do what they’ve said they will as part of their Social Care Commitment.
Statement 1: I will always take responsibility for the things I do or don’t do.
Statement 2: I will always promote and uphold the privacy, dignity, rights, health and wellbeing of people who need care and support.
Statement 3: I will work co-operatively with others to ensure the delivery of safe, high-quality care and support.
Statement 4: I will communicate in an effective way to promote the wellbeing of people who use care and support.
Statement 5: I will respect people’s right to confidentiality, protecting and upholding their privacy and dignity.
Statement 6: I will improve the quality of the care and support I provide by constantly reflecting on and updating my own knowledge, skills and experience.
Statement 7: I will promote equality, diversity and inclusion by treating all people fairly and without bias.
When providers sign up to the commitment they are given a development plan that records the tasks and activity they have promised to complete as part of their commitment. This development plan can be used by the manager as evidence during CQC inspections.
Efforts to improve quality of care are always to be commended. The employer’s statements represent could practice and are closely linked to the Care Quality Commission Fundamental standards. What is different is the drive towards commitment to quality.
Evaluation of the Social Care Commitment
Skills for Care commissioned an evaluation of the Social Care Commitment in 2014. At that time almost all of the signed up employers had, at the time they were consulted, made some progress towards the tasks they had selected. Around half of these employers had experienced barriers to completing their tasks, citing a lack of manager time, difficulties in releasing staff from their day-to-day duties and financial constraints as the main issues.
These were more prevalent in domiciliary care providers than their residential counterparts.
The group of reputational benefits included in the survey were cited by the vast majority of employers. 85% of employers have also experienced, or expect to experience, quality of care related benefits as a result of the Commitment, while 83% said that it has led, or will lead, to improvements in how staff are trained and developed.
Commercial benefits (costs, sales and profits) were cited less often, although this is not surprising given that commercial improvement was the least frequently cited motivation for engaging with the Commitment.
There is a modest level of additionality associated with the Commitment, with many of the employers saying that they would have undertaken the tasks anyway. However, the added value of the Commitment is in the structured approach to workforce development that it provides. It is repeatedly helping to focus their efforts, is providing a framework and is ensuring that they are working towards an appropriate standard which is consistent with the rest of the sector.
Some barriers were identified to progressing the commitment. Half of the employers that had signed up had not experienced any barriers to progressing and, where applicable, completing their tasks. For the remainder, the main Evaluation of the Social Care Commitment barriers, none of which came as a surprise, were a lack of manager time to take the tasks forward, difficulties in releasing staff from their day-to-day duties and financial constraints. The results suggest that domiciliary care providers are more likely to experience these barriers than their residential counterparts, especially a lack of financial resources and difficulties releasing staff from their jobs.
The Social Care Commitment can be seen as a driving force to encourage managers to focus on elements of best practice that are requirements of CQC Fundamental Standards. The evaluation found the process to be generally very positive and, as such, they found relatively few obvious areas for remedial action or intervention. However, employers were keen to stress that the added value of the Commitment is in the structured approach to workforce development that it provides. It is repeatedly helping to focus their efforts, is providing a framework and is ensuring that they are working towards an appropriate standard which is consistent with the rest of the sector.
Albert Cook BA, MA & Fellow Charted Quality Institute
Bettal Quality Consultancy