Visits outside care homes

This week, the Department for Health and Social care confirmed further changes to the guidance in relation to overnight visits outside the care home. ARC England submitted a witness statement in support of the John’s Campaign request for a judicial review of the guidance because we believe that it discriminated against people with a learning disability who happen to live in a registered care home. We are pleased that the guidance has changed, of course, but it does appear that, had the decision-making process been more consultative and the concerns of providers, such as ARC’s members, heard and acted upon sooner, real and significant savings could be made both in relation to legal fees and the well-being of supported people and their families.

Leeds Autism Service: A walk in the countryside
A walk in the countryside © Leeds Autism Service

Mandatory care home staff vaccination

The sector heard this week about the decision that the Government has made to mandate staff vaccination in care homes where regulated activity takes place, not from the Department for Health and Social Care but through the news media.

ARC England has previously made our position clear in relation to mandatory staff vaccination, based on feedback from our members.

Given the very many regular meetings, forums, workshops and conference calls that membership bodies attend where the pandemic is discussed with DHSC colleagues, it was disappointing that organisations such as ours were not given the opportunity to bring this important development to the attention of our members.  The approach adopted by Government does bring into question the extent to which the sector is genuinely consulted on policies like this. That said, we also think that this could be because we are interacting with DHSC colleagues who are several steps away from the decision-makers. The DHSC colleagues that we speak with do for the most part seem to be genuinely engaged with providers through their representative bodies, but governmental structures are traditionally hierarchical and when communication is managed in this way, we wonder if the people we interact with might be just as frustrated as we are.

New ARC England themed networking groups

I would like to let members know that, in response to member requests, ARC is developing themed networking groups. We are currently working on a session which will be led by the CQC on registration, another session that will be led by the Digital Social Care team on care planning and recording system functionality and shared health and social care records, and a third networking session on the well-led CQC key inspection question and in particular, the role of the Trustees and Directors of third sector organisations.

OBE congratulations to NCF’s Vic Rayner

Finally, ARC England extend our warmest congratulations to Vic Rayner at NCF who, quite rightly, has been awarded the OBE for the work she has done to support the social care sector during the most challenging period it has faced in living memory. Vic speaks up for providers and challenges Government thinking and anyone who reads her blogs will know that when she thinks people are getting it wrong, she doesn’t hold back. Crucially, what she also manages to do is engage people with a constructive tone and solutions-focused approach, so it is great that her efforts and the impact that she and the NCF have had are being recognised.

Clive Parry, ARC England Director