The providers of high quality care and support services are eager to show that what they offer is valued by customers, their families and supporters. Care and support choices are increasingly being made by people and not local authorities and we need ways of ‘badging’ or accrediting providers that takes this into account. The new Quality Mark developed by Community Catalysts could offer the answer.
Community Catalysts works with people with good ideas, offering the help they need to get their new enterprise established. This has the knock on effect of providing greater choice for people who need care and support to live their lives kind of “market shaping from the bottom up”
Evidence from our work is that lots of enterprises are not covered by local contracts or care regulation and as a result are unable to get ‘registered’ or ‘approved’ as care services were in the past. Others spend time and money jumping through the hoops necessary for registration or approval only to find these don’t have a focus on the quality issues that users and families are looking for. There are a plethora of new and emerging systems and initiatives which are attempting to address the quality issue but are not designed to work for the kind of small and/or quirky service providers that users are looking to purchase from.
The Quality Mark gives providers access to advice and information before assessing their systems and paper documents. It also recognises that all the paperwork in the world will not guarantee that the service will deliver good outcomes for customers and uses very simple feedback systems to allow people to say what they think about the service they have received. An independent Citizen Panel makes recommendations as to whether the provider should gain the quality mark awards
The system is designed to be accessible to as wide a range of providers as possible. We hope that providers and councils in other areas will be interested in using it and will be licensing its use in order to offer more comprehensive and continuing support.
We believe that people will appreciate this simple but robust approach to tackling the very real issues we face in this new (but a little confusing) personalised world of care.
About the author Angela is the Director of Operations at Community Catalysts, an organisation that works to harness the talents of people and communities to provide high quality small scale and local support services. Angela began her career as a nurse for people with a learning disability, moving on to manage nursing, residential and day services and supported living projects.
For more information about the Quality Mark contact Angela firstname.lastname@example.org