Good managers and leaders in social care are committed to embedding best practice through engaging with their peers, sharing information and growing their knowledge. The importance and value of networking shouldn’t be underestimated.
Skills for Care facilitates registered manager networks, covering every local authority area in England. They offer registered managers the chance to meet locally with other like-minded managers who often face similar, everyday challenges.
These networks are a great source of information and support for registered managers who can find themselves isolated in this pivotal role. They are led by network chairs, who are themselves registered managers and who understand the daily pressures of working in social care. Local networks meet at least three times a year and ensure topics are relevant to the attendees.
Practical benefits of networks
Networks give registered managers the chance to:
- access peer support, reducing isolation
- share valuable information about their role and service
- increase confidence outside of their daily environment
- share skills and best practice
- learn from guest speakers, including regulators and commissioners.
Case study: a registered manager network in action
Sam King is registered manager at Hightown Housing Association and also a network chair for Hertfordshire, Buckinghamshire and Milton Keynes. She talks about the many benefits of registered manager networks.
“I’m really pleased with how the network has grown and the feedback I hear after each meeting. If a network can help even one manager feel more supported and less isolated then that’s great. Most of the registered managers in my organisation attend network meetings now – and I often hear my colleagues refer to it in other meetings – that’s a good sign!
“Networks empower managers and are one way of helping them recognise just what an important part of the social care workforce they are. Some of our attendees are new managers and attending network meetings has increased their confidence. It’s a role that can feel lonely sometimes, but through attending they can see that everyone has the same sort of issues. Every manager attending also learns from the opportunities to share best practice that the network provides. The network has also been a good way to engage with stakeholders – everyone faces the same issues and sometimes having a group of people as a collective ensures that stakeholders receive one, consistent message.
“Our network attendees have benefitted from hearing from local Care Quality Commission (CQC) representatives, the chance to raise issues and having a better understanding of CQC processes. This also supported relationship building; the inspector speaking to us was clear about wanting to work in partnership with us.
“One of the things we are working on, as a network, is a list of the speakers we want to hear from in the future. We have National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) speaking to us soon about medicines management and we also want to ask our local authorities to attend the network to talk about local changes they are making.
“Finally, thinking about what the network gives us as managers – I think it’s important not to underestimate the benefit of protected time away from a busy workload and service; every manager needs time to stop and reflect on things.”
Join your local registered manager network
Find out more about joining your local registered manager network at www.skillsforcare.org.uk/networks