Learning Disabilities & Autism Opinion

Leading a united workforce

Mark Adams
Mark Adams, CEO, Community Integrated Care

To navigate the significant challenges of the Coronavirus pandemic, you need a united, resolute, responsive workforce. Community Integrated Care had this. When we look back at the story of the last 18 months, it isn’t one of just leadership from our senior team, it is the story of 6,000 people all working with dedication to protect the people we support and look out for one another.

From working with leading infection prevention scientists to providing wellbeing support to every colleague, we have continually strived to do what is right for our teams, the people we support and our families.  At every level, we have focused on doing things as robustly, effectively, and as compassionately as possible.

Ahead of the pandemic hitting UK shores, we took early and comprehensive action creating a dedicated internal team of senior leaders to plan for a potential first national lockdown which quickly became reality.

To engage with our services effectively, we knew from the outset that communication would be essential, and no easy feat with 450 different services, colleagues across the UK and government advice changing regularly. Therefore, we created a series of dedicated channels, from a Coronavirus Resource Hub to monthly webinars and regular video calls with families. Throughout this time, we ensured we were transparent and rolled out new guidance swiftly.

Supporting Each Other

Our colleagues stood by the people they support, and it was our duty to stand next to them. We’ve made bold investments that profit motivated organisations would not. That’s why we launched our Emergency Pay Response, which provided support to colleagues in two key ways; an enhanced hourly pay rate for several months throughout the pandemic, and an improved sick pay offer for any colleague affected by Coronavirus. We wanted to ensure that every colleague had a proper safety net should they contract the virus and were truly valued for their contribution at this moment of crisis.

Community Integrated Care has a strategic commitment to support the health and wellbeing of its workforce. This was never more important than in the heat of this crisis. We commissioned experts who provided support, advice and guidance for our colleagues. Every colleague was provided with free mindfulness and wellbeing training whilst our frontline leaders and nurses were equipped with specialist mental health skills. Where people needed more significant input such as access to counselling and trauma support, this was an immediate priority.

As a charity, we are dedicated to enabling the people we support to live the best life possible, and at a time when they couldn’t access the community, we brought it to them. We created a series of innovative virtual activities with our partners at Leeds Rhinos, Middlesbrough FC, Portsmouth FC and Table Tennis England.

Standing Up for the Sector 

Community Integrated Care is committed to lobbying for fair pay, respect and support for the social care sector. At the height of the pandemic the inequalities for our sector became even more unpalatable than ever. We were determined to speak out.

Our charity fought with the NCF to reveal the true impact of Coronavirus on the care sector in the first months of the pandemic, shifting government focus back onto care services. We called out the Prime Minister when he dared to blamed the death toll in care on frontline colleagues and worked with leading broadcasters to ask why social care is the nation’s Cinderella service.

We felt so strongly that the contribution of social care to this moment of history could not be overlooked that we pitched a documentary to BBC Panorama. The film, The Forgotten Frontline, moved millions and truly represented the best of social care.

The past 18 months have been exhausting, unforgettable and unprecedented for all of us. It is my hope that these efforts are not forgotten by the Government and that social care is a core part of the UK aiming to Build Better.

 

 

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