Amanda-Jane Carey, Operations Manager, Kingdom Youth Services
Amanda-Jane Carery, Operations Manager at Kingdom Youth Services was hailed a Social Care Superwoman at last month’s Women Achieving Greatness in Social Care Awards for her approach to transforming a failing service. Here she talks about the organisations’ approach to becoming Outstanding.
Creating an outstanding service begins with culture, vision and the empowerment of all within the organisation. Everyone plays a crucial part in the ethos and outcomes desired to ensure it is based on the success and growth of all. Employees and individuals supported should have the empowerment behind them to know they can achieve and progress to new heights, tomorrow is always a new day and each day passed by is an opportunity to grow and reflect.
As an organisation grows, so will its team. By upskilling employees and giving them the opportunity to progress in their career not only supports the organisation, but also recognises the worth of the employee. By investing time in getting to know each employee, skills and talents can be uncovered which can be incorporated into the support delivered. Not only will this make the role more enjoyable, it will also expose individuals to new opportunities and experiences.
We recognise the difficulties that our individual’s may face, and although we always try to see life through their eyes, this can sometimes be difficult. By employing a team of ‘expert by experiences’, we were quickly able to bridge the gap between individual and support worker. Owing to their own life experiences, they bring a knowledge and passion to the service that cannot be taught.
Empowerment needs to be felt across the entire organisation. Co-production plays a key role in ensuring that decisions are made with individual’s instead of for them, and that they are given autonomy and choice wherever possible. Inclusion is sought by each of us, so by adapting our approach we can ensure that those we support have their voice back, where previously they may feel they have lost it.
Annual End of Year Award events recognises the achievements of employees who have truly excelled and should be proud of their contributions. We hold an awards ceremony split over two nights to include the whole organisation and present 8 awards each night, which are anonymously voted by their colleagues, creating a wealth of respect and recognition for their work.
Understanding of reporting and documentation systems plays a crucial role, ensuring systems are user friendly and strength-based, captures vital information around successes and progression made, this also allows for reflective practice around what worked well and what could be adapted to continuously improve.
Meeting and working collaboratively with other providers, both locally and further afield provides the opportunity to share best practice, gather insight into different techniques and hear lessons learned around what was done to improve on both difficult and positive experiences, you are never starting from scratch, you are starting from experience.
It can be daunting when undertaking inspections by the regulatory bodies and local authorities and truly feeling you are as prepared as you can be. During our first inspection with the Care Quality Commission, we had a pre-planned set up ready to display for our inspection. This consisted of all regulated individuals supported folders, required logs and matrix for areas including safeguarding, complaints/compliments, success stories/journeys, staff folders and other documentation that may need to be inspected. This showed confidence and readiness for the inspection, where information could easily be pulled upon and reviewed at their leisure, during the questions and conversations.
Being outstanding has become ever harder and is not just based on the inspection reports we received, but more about the ethos and values of the dedication we as support providers are delivering. By truly putting the outcomes and successes of all within the organisation first, creating new opportunities and a sense of self-worth is what makes the real difference.