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A Social Enterprise providing community based support for adults with learning disabilities and/or autism in the South West

Somerset Care Provider Dismisses Five Staff

Seeing vulnerable people abused and dis-empowered sickens us all. There are never excuses and such behaviour can never be justified.

Somehow it feels even worse when something like this happens in ones back yard. It shouldn't I guess, we are all people wherever we happen to be, but sometimes it can feel just a little too close.

I applaud my colleagues at Discovery for the way in which they have investigated this and the action they have taken, and my heart goes out to people who have been hurt by this, both people supported and those close to them.

Abuse usually has power at its root and robust recruitment strategies are required that work to understand the values and motivations that drive each candidate. However, new recruits join established cultures and it is these cultures that can suck people in and turn people into someone they were not. Often, when reflecting post incident, people say they no longer recognise themselves.  Exposing and opening these cultures is critical and this means as leaders we have to challenge ourselves. Sometimes we can be so invested in something that we can't see for looking.

And it's not just large organisations that fall foul to abuse. In my 30 + years in social care I've seen things happen in all kinds of settings. People of values must stay alert and there must be open reporting structures that enable people to blow the whistle in confidence and knowing they will be heard and protected. Any manager worth her salt will celebrate when complaints go up because she will know that people feel safe enough to speak up.

The last thing I want to say on this distasteful matter is that the market itself can contribute toward abuse. Providers of whatever hue fish for Support Staff from the same pond and all feel trapped in trying to outdo the other in terms of benefits and incentives. Invariably this means budgets being cut elsewhere, and sometimes at more than a monetary cost.

If we could move from competition to collaboration, just imagine what we could do.

Source: BBC News

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