Summary of Family and Carers Meetings during September
After a break for the summer, Anne Shiels, Senior Operations Manager for Surrey Choices, welcomed everyone to each area meeting. She also gave apologies for Jerry Ratcliff, Chief Operating Officer, who was unwell, so was unable to attend any of the Families and Carers meetings this time around.
Feedback from NDTi Survey
Beverley Stonehouse, Surrey Choices’ interim Marketing and Communications Manager presented the results of the Changing Days survey conducted with Families and Carers in June. She recapped that the survey had been used as a follow up to the Festival of Ideas in 2019. Its purpose was to ensure that the outcomes, which the National Development Team for Inclusion and Surrey Choices had developed, were still correct.
Beverley shared the three goals that Families and Carers ranked as the most important to their family member:
- People have friendships with people who like doing the same things
- People have accessible places where they are welcome
- People learn new skills and develop throughout their lives
She set out the top three things that families and Carers expressed as important to them, detailing some of the percentage scores for each answer.
- I feel confident about my family members future
- I can trust Surrey Choices
- I feel I am kept up to date with my family members support and team
She summarised two new themes that families and Carers had identified as important to them and how they have been condensed into the phrase: ‘I am confident my family member is safe’ and added to the outcomes.
- Feeling safe and secure in the community
- Safe and familiar environments for activities
She observed that most families and carers indicated a preference for Person Centred Reviews and catch up calls over other forms of contact.
Lastly, she showed a table of the final outcomes that have been reached. These are the outcomes Surrey Choices wants to achieve and how we will know if we are progressing and showing the right signs of change.
This infographic summarises the findings of the Changing Days survey.
For those interested in reading about the survey in more detail the full report is available here.
Changing Days Progress
Anne reported how Surrey Choices have introduced Person Centred Planning. 65.7% of people have already met with Surrey Choices and their Surrey County Council adult social care teams. People who previously attended smaller, less well-equipped buildings have been prioritised first. As a result of the pandemic many more people are now being supported closer to home and benefitting from the use of new technology. When questioned by the parents present, Anne acknowledged that virtual programmes are not right for everyone. However, although the number of online sessions is being reduced, virtual sessions will continue with a new, more standardised timetable. Some of the people we support are still not ready to come back to our in-person service and others appreciate the flexibility of the online offering.
Anne went on to say that not all of our buildings may remain. Going forward, our property model is to ensure buildings are located close to local amenities with good access to public transport links . She talked about the opening of the Longmead Community Hub in the East area representing a benchmark for all our buildings. She invited families and Carers from any area to visit and see the modern facilities. (There is also this virtual tour available) Facilities at Longmead include: a Changing Places toilet and a state-of-the-art sensory room. To that end, Anne commented in the East Area meeting, that new sensory equipment had recently been fitted at Priory Gate.
Our search for better quality accommodation is ongoing. In the West area, it was noted that the site previously identified as a replacement for Lockwood has fallen through. In the North, we are still looking for a site to replace Ashford. Surrey Choices has recently commissioned Vail Williams, a leading commercial property agent, to help us identify suitable sites. Good news shared was that Surrey Choices has made a job offer to a new Property Manager. Furthermore, we have signed the Heads of Terms on the Thameside property in the North area. It requires substantial re-fitting to our new standard, but Anne anticipates it being operational from January 2022.
Staffing and resource
Anne talked candidly about some of the staffing issues that Surrey Choices has been experiencing over the last few months. She explained that nationally many organisations in the care sector are struggling with recruitment. 18 months of Covid, using PPE and working differently has placed additional pressures on the sector. While Surrey Choices has seen several staff move on for all sorts of reasons, our staff retention rates still remain above average for the sector.
Nonetheless Surrey Choices has invested in partnership working with Indeed, an online recruitment site, to backfill the vacancies. She was pleased to report that applications are coming in and interviews were taking place. While she was optimistic about staffing levels improving over the coming weeks and months, she stated that there is less flex to be able to offer everyone every activity on a specific day of their choosing. She acknowledged that some services were not yet back to full capacity, both because of staffing during the holiday season and Covid-19 restrictions. She further explained that health and safety in our buildings had to be more rigorous than in many public places given the vulnerability of many of the people Surrey Choices supports.
Revised operational structure
Anne introduced the ‘mini’ management restructure that is occurring in Community Choices. She explained that previously Service Co-ordinators were linked to a building.
Although Surrey Choices will continue to have buildings, from 1 October managers will be associated with geographical areas and communities. Service Co-ordinators are being renamed to be Team Managers, which aligns better with the operational structure of a Senior Operational Manager and the three Area Operational Managers already in place. The presentation at each area meeting set out who would be responsible for which sub areas and what buildings.
The meetings were peppered with questions following each presentation, so there were no specific questions to report from the more formal question and answer session at the end of the evening.
Anne closed the meeting by telling people that Families and Carers meetings will now be held quarterly this November, and February, May and September next year. Dates to be shared once scheduled.
The next meetings will be held in November. Visit the Events Calendar for dates and to book on. Meetings will then be quarterly on the third week of the month.
Other useful links:
Changing Places Toilet Locator