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Social Care Quality Assurance the missing piece of the jigsaw?

Social Care Quality Assurance – the missing piece of the jigsaw?

With a renewed focus on quality assurance in light of recent inspection results, it’s time local authorities looked to the cause rather than the symptoms.

HCL Social Care managing director Stephen Hockey points out whilst a number of authorities have attempted to tackle inspection shortfalls, long term effectiveness can vary and when regulating bodies such as Ofsted revisit, oversights mean senior and middle managers ultimately pay the price.

“The question we should be asking is not how authorities can get files signed off as quickly as possible but how they can implement an end-to-end process to ensure their department is running safely and efficiently as well as casework being up-to-date in preparation for inspection.” Mr Hockey said.

Currently, the majority of local authorities either utilise their own QA departments or look externally for auditors or full project teams to clear department backlogs. Recommendations are made by these teams in the short term but responsibility for embedding these recommendations can be vague at best, and when the team or individual moves on from the assignment, more often than not this results in a return to a substandard practice.

“We believe HCL’s specialist candidates can be the key to quality assurance for local authorities. These individuals have the necessary experience and knowledge to provide tailored recommendations, and by using the same individuals or teams to undertake the second stage mentoring process, authorities can be confident of a standard, long term practice being embedded into their department. Most importantly, this means safe and efficient operation of services.”

Adding value

For optimal quality assurance, a full file audit should be undertaken by an experienced individual who then has the responsibility to educate and mentor team managers and social workers on arising issues and implement robust audit tools and systems to effect change

This individual must have the ability and experience to provide honest feedback to senior management of any issues found along with delivering an overview of how service is actually functioning, which enables the council to resolve any residual issues effectively

Interaction between the individual and team managers and care workers should instill confidence and educate why the audit is taking place. Team managers and social workers in turn will ensure the consistent delivery of improvements and assist their teams in addressing the root causes of any poor practice and make sure they are able to continue the mentoring process as part of the supervision process.

“From our perspective, our absolute priority is to ensure the candidates we supply for these roles are not only able to demonstrate the above skill set but also ensure a positive legacy within the services they operate. This increases their own marketability and reputation whilst addressing the fundamental needs of our clients.”

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