Co-Production Opinion

Expert perspectives

Stephen Cornish, National Care Group Deal & Hythe, Kent

Placing individuals at the forefront of social care services is paramount to delivering a truly person centered approach. With this in mind, two individuals who draw on services from care and support provider National Care Group, share their perspectives on why people with lived experience should be at the heart of shaping the future of social care.

 What initiatives have National Care Group put in place to ensure that people who use their services are fully involved in shaping services, and why is this important to you?

Shaun Ridley on behalf of a Highlea Care service, a part of National Care Group


“We have various initiatives at Highlea Care that ensure we are all involved in the running of our service. We have two Ambassadors who support Julie, our Registered Manager, in audits. They have achieved all the necessary training for their roles and now regularly visit our services to ask us all questionnaires and just have a look around at how things are without any management involved. They also ask the staff team how they are and get their feedback. This happens regularly and it really helps. For example, they reported that some people have said they haven’t achieved some of their personal goals and now Julie has made plans to make sure that support is prioritised.

We also have surveys that Julie sends to us, and the relatives.

We have regular house meetings where we all get together and chat. This has helped me as when I first arrived, I was very anxious and it really helped with my confidence in getting to know everyone and just knowing I have someone to talk to when I need to. The meetings keep us all talking which is a great thing for all our mental health. It’s great that our voices are listened to when we have any issues too.

I am also proud to be employed by National Care Group as a Quality Checker. This involves me visiting other services outside of Highlea Care to carry out surveys and produce reports on how they are being run. I enjoy being an advocate for others and I think having fresh eyes on their service is valuable feedback.

 “What initiatives have National Care Group put in place to ensure that people who use their services are fully involved in shaping services, and why is this important to you?” 


I feel National Care Group constantly use new initiatives to help promote and deliver an excellent standard of care to all individuals they support. The Team actively promotes activities for the benefit of mental health. They listen to wishes and encourage a huge selection of activities for the individuals they support to attend and engage in. This is paramount to help improve mental health and well-being, including mine.

People supported have an involvement in shaping their services, with their voices being heard by direct staff members and management. We have monthly resident meetings where thoughts and wishes are listened to and acted upon. I live in supported living and feel my voice is heard and that my thoughts and wishes help to shape my service. I am happy to say as a result I live in a calm and relaxed service, which is most important to me.

I am also employed by the organisation in my role as a Quality Checker. I have been supported by them to visit services and audit other homes in other parts of the country to gain a better understanding of how the individuals are being cared for and live within their services. I engage with the individuals and staff, then complete a report that documents the care and support that is being provided and I provide suggestions for improvement. I am thankful for the opportunity and continue to enjoy my position.”

With a General Election on the horizon, what would you like to see the new Government do to support people with a learning disability and autistic people, to ensure they have the same access to opportunities, choice, and control and to enable everyone to live a Good Life?


“I would like to ask the new Government to get out and speak to people with learning disabilities directly about their support needs and goals for leading a better and more full life. Not to sit behind a desk or in a meeting room making decisions for people they don’t understand. I am proud to also be employed by Inclusion North as a Citizenship Leader and my role is to speak to people with learning disabilities and autistic people and feedback to NHS England on how their lives could be made easier. The new Government needs to support more of this to happen.”


“As a result of the next General Election, I would like to see the Government offer individuals with a learning disability or autistic people more opportunities to achieve the same possible outcomes as an individual without disabilities. I feel that this is only fair, and everyone should be treated equally despite any disability. I have previously lived with individuals with a learning disability, therefore understand how important it is that they should be treated equally to ensure they have every chance of living a happy fulfilled life.”



Email Newsletter