Merle Davis, Area Manager, MacIntyre Leicester and Chesterfield, has kindly written our guest blog this fortnight, and looks at the steps they have taken to strive for an Outstanding rating from CQC.

MacIntyre has been providing support, learning, and care for 52 years and currently supports more than 1,500 children, young people and adults with a learning disability and/or autism across the country.

On June 22 it was announced that MacIntyre’s Leicester Lifelong Learning (which encompasses the Leicester Supported Living, Outreach and also Chesterfield Supported Living) had been awarded an ‘Outstanding’ rating by CQC, to say I was ecstatic would have been an understatement. Having been the registered manager since the day it opened and involved with people we support in Leicestershire for over 10 years; it has been a delight to provide support for amazing people, alongside a highly focused and attentive team.

The reaction following the announcement has been a pleasure to witness. Once the rating was finalised, I personally contacted the Front Line Managers and support staff. Delivering the news, I was answered with cries of joy and celebration. Their dedication to the people we support has meant we could share this fantastic accolade.

We have also had an overwhelming response from across MacIntyre, organisations in the care sector and families of people we support, all who have been incredibly supportive of our news.

As Leicester Lifelong Learning had previously been rated an overall ‘Good’, with an ‘Outstanding’ in the ‘Responsive’ area in January 2016, I felt it would be constructive to reflect on the successes that gained us an overall ‘Outstanding’ rating.

To maintain our ‘Outstanding’ rating in the Responsive category we continued to focus on making people’s quality of life the best it could be. At MacIntyre, it’s vital that people we support live a life that makes sense to them, so as staff, we aim to be creative in order to achieve this. We are always looking for opportunities to make things happen and to help people we support to achieve their goals.

For example, when someone shows enthusiasm for a topic, we look for ways to build on this. An individual at Leicester showed great interest in dogs and revealed to us that they aspired to own a dog of their own. Using this information, we began to look for safe, but interesting opportunities to enable them to become familiar with animals. Researching countless organisations, the team worked with the person to select a dog rescue facility where they could contribute as a volunteer.

We also believe that a key element to helping people have a fantastic quality of life is about getting to know them and the people they value. Working closely with the people we support and their families allows us to get to know the person’s likes, dislikes and communication style, which helps us to learn how best to support them.   

In Leicester Lifelong Learning, whilst it is important that each person’s Person Centred Plan is accessible, we value current, accurate information over pristinely typed files. If we learn that the person we support has tried something new, their reaction is quickly added to their plan.

Whilst the people we support are a priority, we also recognise that to provide the best support, our teams had to be united and communicating effectively. This led to our rating in the ‘Well-Led’ category rising from ‘Good’ to ‘Outstanding’.

None of our Support Workers, Front Line Managers or Area Managers work in isolation. There are always opportunities for senior staff to work alongside new and existing staff. Regular meetings between Front Line Managers and support staff provide beneficial, reflective feedback. By reviewing accomplishments, and exploring what worked or didn’t work, staff can adapt their way of working to suit the needs of the individual.

Through building relationships with families and using Person Centred Plans, we have been able to see people’s confidence in their own communication skills grow. In turn, this has encouraged many of the people we support to take control of key decisions in their life and feel confident enough to become part of their community, increasing their independence.

Of course it’s wonderful to have this recognition from CQC, but for us, it’s about putting the people we support first and creating an environment where staff can flourish. At Leicester Lifelong Learning we will continue to strive to be the best for the people we support as you never know where determination, teamwork and person-centred care can lead.