11 January 2019
Supporting people with complex needs demands that support is right first time and every time; however, tragically our media is often full of stories of lives damaged and even lost because social care has gone wrong. When social care goes wrong people get hurt and whilst physical damage is often visible to all emotional and psychological harm can be equally as disabling - but hidden.
Trust is central to successful social care and the need for trust is very real at every stage, within every process and at every level from the relationship the person has with their Support Worker through to the relationship the person and their family and friends have with the organisation itself.
It’s all about trust, and it’s all about relationship. It’s about how the provider of support will actually come up with the goods regularly, consistently, effectively and efficiently.
What makes for a Trusted Provider and why does You First feel that we are worthy of your trust?
Unlike services provided by the NHS which are free at the point of use, social care, however uncomfortable one may be with the fact, is business. Whatever the hue of the organisation, from the biggest multi-national to the smallest Micro Provider money is exchanged. Even a not-for-private-profit organisation like You First has to make money in order to be sustainable, meet overheads and to ensure quality. Because money is involved and exchanged and because profits are essential organisations and individuals will be marketing for this “business” within a competitive market and this means that promises will be made in order to attract people. Like all support providers You First has a website full of promises. We want you to hold us to these promises as we are a provider with integrity at our core.
A trusted provider only promises what they can deliver. It’s no good claiming capacity to deliver when there are no staff! When support is requested on a certain day and at a certain time with a certain Support Worker then this is what must happen. When consistency and continuity are promised this must be honoured.
This necessitates a clear and robust recruitment process whereby the expectations upon Support Workers and the flexible requirements of the role are made clear from the outset and where support to meet these requirements is embedded within the organisation.
Once trust is damaged confidence is destroyed and getting back to a place of trust and confidence is a very difficult process indeed – if not an impossible one.
As the CEO of You First I must have trust in my managers and the entire team. I can’t afford for there to be a disconnect between You First’s vision, my expectations and the felt experience of the people who purchase support from You First. People’s experience has to be that we deliver every time.
A Trusted Provider is honest and open from the get-go. You First will always be transparent and real. If we can’t do something just now, we will tell you and plan with you to find a way to make it happen. We will always be genuine, and we will not promise something if we can’t keep to that promise.
We all know that the power dynamic is a very real thing in social care. As an organisation we are constantly challenging ourselves with the question “who has the power here?” Everything You First does is about facilitating the empowerment of people with learning disabilities and/or autism and therefore the power must always rest with the people we support. Every time, in every interaction, within every process.
On an individual level this often starts with enabling people to appreciate that they have power. Institutionalisation can happen in any setting and this is obviously disempowering and it’s all too easy for a sense of deference to become a default setting as a result. Also support can create dependency as opposed to maximising independence.
You First doesn’t empower people – people already have personal power – but we support people on their own journey toward the realisation that they have personal power and that they have the right to use it.
On an organisational level this means that every activity, every process, every policy, every meeting operates in such a way that it returns power to where it rightfully belongs – the people You First was set up to support.
“Who has the power here?” is a You First mantra.
Progressive support is about embracing and enabling the personal ambition individuals have for their lives. A Trusted Provider is ambitious for people and You First’s approach to support and the way we deliver this is all about enabling and facilitating the realisation of personal ambition.
I talk about progressive support in the most recent video I have made and you can find this by clickiing here. Please do take a look!
This excites me because the very things people want are the very things You First was formed to provide 5 years ago! I can assure you that we will keep on doing what we do best.
If we keep doing more of the same we will simply get more of the same! Change is a constant, it’s here to stay and this is because every single person is different and unique. We all want something different out of life and we all hold different views of the world therefore innovation is at the heart of every Trusted Provider. There has never been and will never be a “one size fits all.”
Over the last 12 months, through listening to the people we support we have, among other things, supported people to:
This track record and our ability to demonstrate how we have enabled people to achieve these things evidence the fact that You First is a Trusted Provider.
I am very aware that national drivers toward progression can cause people with severe disabilities and their families to feel segregated and overlooked. You First is inclusive in all we do and our focus will always be one of enabling people to get the very most out of life in a meaningful and purposeful way and in way that truly makes sense to the person and that fully engages them. Progress isn't all about the big and the spectacular in the way that society in general often views such things. We celebrate success with people because we understand that milestones are as individualised as the person themselves. This approach is one that continues to make You First a Trusted Provider.
For the Trusted Provider the person and those who are important to them will always be at the very centre of everything. In the weeks that lie ahead You First will be advertising for someone with a learning disability and/or autism to join the You First Advisory Board. This will be paid time. I am also in discussion with Devon Link-Up who employ Quality Checkers to facilitate a peer led audit of You First by people learning disabilities and/or autism the outcomes of which will be published on the You First website.
As I mentioned above, we all change. There is no life without change. Change can come from learning new things, gaining in confidence, meeting new people, experiencing new situations but it can also come from growing older or our needs changing as well as changing expectations and evolving dreams and ambition.
As a flexible and responsive organisation, You First is responsive to the evolving pattern of change and grows alongside each individual as they grow and build their lives.
Being responsive also requires an organisation to be a learning organisation. This requires dispensing with professional assumption (a key enemy of person-centred support) and listening to people together with learning lessons when things go wrong.
A Trusted Provider:
• Keeps promises made
• Maintains openness and transparency
• Returns power to the person
• Delivers upon outcomes
• Is innovative, inclusive, person-centred and responsive.
Do share your thoughts and feelings around what makes for a Trusted Provider in the comments box below. If you would value a conversation concerning anything in this article or if you would like to see a copy of our most recent Strategic Plan or would value a conversation around how as a Community Interest Company we view the evolution and progression of social care in the South West, please do not hesitate to contact the You First office on 01458 254040 or send us an email by clicking here.