Oct 16

"A great manager can bring about improvements quickly"

Posted: 11 October 2016

GTurnerIt’s pretty clear the registered manager is the linchpin of a good quality care service. But what always surprises and impresses me is how quickly a great manager can bring about improvements. In May 2016, the Care Quality Commission (CQC) arrived unannounced to inspect the New Deanery Care Home. On 24 August the rating was published – ‘good’ across all aspects, except one; the leadership of the home is ‘outstanding’. It’s this leadership that has driven improvement of the service beyond recognition.

Only two years earlier, the Old Deanery (as it was called) was the subject of an undercover Panorama investigation. Staff were filmed slapping and harassing residents. The home was put into special measures and three workers were subsequently jailed. The new owners, Sonnet Care, had a huge task to turn things around. Julia Clinton, CEO, said: “Our first step was to develop a set of values that would be at the core of everything that came next. Kindness, comfort and respect became our mantra.”

When the CQC inspector asked staff what had changed the culture of the service they all said: “The manager.” Staff told the inspector she had brought the focus back onto the care of people and taught them the basics of positive, supportive, individualised care delivered with dignity and respect.

I believe the relationship between managers and their own leaders and managers is critical. Good managers can only be effective in an environment where their values are shared and upheld, and they are listened to and supported.

The New Deanery is a fantastic example of how quickly a good manager can make a difference; reverse that scenario and the opposite may also be true. When good managers leave, a service can quickly deteriorate. And the turnover rate for registered managers is high. Our latest analysis of CQC data shows one in five left their role in the last 12 months, and there are around 2,800 registered manager vacancies across England at any one time.

My advice: invest in developing your managers to be fantastic, support them so they stick with you, and when they move on, celebrate their contribution - and make sure you have someone ready and able to step into their shoes.

For more information how Skills for Care can support you as a registered manager, please visit the registered manager section of our website.