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An all inclusive approach to achieving outstanding

Back in May 2017 Consensus’ Community Support services in Kettering were rated as Outstanding following an inspection in March that same year. At the time of inspection the service supported 25 people with their personal care needs in a supported living environment, across a number of homes.

Consensus Community Support Limited- 55 Headlands was rated ‘Outstanding’ overall, Outstanding for being caring, well-led, responsive and safe and ‘Good’ for being effective.

Manager of the service, Michelle Christie, was delighted with the rating and knows that the achievement was realised through being able to clearly evidence the support that is provided both locally and strategically.

As the inspection date was announced the opportunity was seized to invite both colleagues and supported individuals from across all homes included in the registration of 55 Headlands to meet with the inspectors. Ordinarily a supported living service would be inspected at its registered address and perhaps one other location within the registration. Michelle felt it was important that everyone across the whole service should be included and have a voice. Everyone was encouraged to come along and share their experiences, support, skills and knowledge.

When asked how they achieved Outstanding, Michelle says;

“I think the key was that we always involve everyone we support and our colleagues in how to review, learn and adapt, making sure individuals have a voice and are at the centre of what we do when supporting them to control how they live their lives. We didn’t do anything we wouldn’t normally do.

“Supported individuals were fully engaged in the process and Inspectors were invited by them, not support workers, to view and discuss their support plans which they had created and individualised truly reflecting them as people and the support they required. Inspectors were able to see and hear from colleagues about surveys and forums at which feedback was gathered and used to continuously improve outcomes, environments, support, and activities. Through our care records and support plans, not one of them written the same, we evidenced the team constantly reviews and adapts to the changing needs of each individual and match them with support colleagues that offer opportunities to flourish yet further.

“Furthermore by sharing our reflective practices, and demonstrating how we adapted and improved support following any setback we were praised for our honesty and ability to continuously drive the quality and safety of our services.

“By empowering our team we have seen people flourish but being able to evidence this through personal testimonies and clear records is how I believe we achieved Outstanding.”

James Allen, Managing Director, Consensus adds;

“Our experience of the inspection of our supported living services was extremely positive and feedback from those involved was that the Inspector on the day fully embraced the various elements and essence of what we aim to deliver in all of our supported living services. We were fortunate to have a number of individuals supported by us who are actively involved locally, who wanted to be fully engaged in the process and took it upon themselves to make representations to the Inspector.  The challenge for supported living services, more generally, seeking to achieve outstanding is how to find a process for achieving this, perhaps when individuals who may have relatively low support needs, do not wish to engage in the inspection process or indeed because of current practice can easily be excluded.

“Our hope is that changes to the inspection of supported living, offering a more consistent and inclusive inspection will be forthcoming to not only give all providers the opportunity to showcase what they do, but also to protect those who are at risk if appropriate.




Edel Harris





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