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Creating a culture of care

Culture for Care is an initiative with a supporting toolkit that has been developed by Skills For Care. The programme helps organisations develop a positive workplace culture, which in turn improves the quality of support, helps retain staff, reduces costs and increases resilience at times of change.

At Choice Support we always aims for the highest possible quality. We were the first organisation to sign up to the Driving Up Quality Code and we regularly get feedback through a variety of mechanisms. Despite all this I have often found that staff can be negative and it can be difficult to get them to take ownership for finding solutions to problems.

"I’ve seen a complete transformation in some of our services managers, who are now much more accountable and able to challenge their colleagues. As a result they feel more respected, are more confident and they tell me they are enjoying their jobs more!"

The Culture for Care programme is about having really open and honest discussions so that we can collectively come up with solutions, not problems. It’s about talking about the difficult things that get in the way of improving outcomes for people we support and taking ownership for making positive improvements.  

Leadership happens at every level of the organisation and I wanted all my staff to be more confident and professional. Culture for Care has a big focus on self-reflection and looking at what each of us can do individually and collectively to make things better.

How does it work

One of the great things about Culture for Care is that there is an actual toolkit with exercises to help managers assess the culture of the organisation. People are taught early on that it’s OK to say that things need improving and that this is central to the success of the programme. Focus is also on making sure the right staff member is in the right place to use their repertoire of unique skills and talents.

The exercises focus on uncovering staff strengths, weaknesses, feelings and energy. It looks at people as individuals and developing their repertoire of skills.

The results

So far we’ve had 60 people go through the programme and by the end of December 2016 almost all the members of staff working in London will have been involved in some way.

I’ve seen a complete transformation in some of our services managers, who are now much more accountable and able to challenge their colleagues, particularly from central support functions.  As a result they feel more respected, are more confident and they tell me they are enjoying their jobs more!

It’s not only the managers that have changed. I’ve seen loads of examples of support staff taking more responsibility in shaping services. They are working better as teams and individuals are getting out to more local meetings and events to represent Choice Support. Fifteen of our support workers have signed up to be Dignity Champions and part of their role is to share best practice. Some staff have also moved teams because they felt they needed a change.

Our commissioners in Hackney & Haringey have been particularly positive about the work we’ve done and have told us that they have seen real changes within our staff and the people they are supporting.  

Following the success in London Choice Support is looking at roll the Culture For Care programme out across the other parts of the organisation.

Rita Kelsey, Area Manager, London

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More information about Culture of Care from Skills For Care

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