Jul 19

Let's make time to network

Posted: 15 July 2019

This week’s focus in our ‘Developing managers’ campaign is the value of peer support. Our latest blog talks about the power of networks and how they support, not only registered managers, but also assistant and deputy managers. In 2018, we started a pilot testing the impact of establishing a network for assistant and deputy managers in Greater Manchester. Carol Mitchell, Locality Manager for that area leads this pilot and tells us more.

This network in Greater Manchester began as a pilot, with the aim of supporting deputy and aspiring managers to develop and meet their peers, share experience and best practice.

It might have started as a pilot, but the network for deputy and aspiring managers has already grown beyond that. We’ve held three meetings since September 2018, with a fourth one planned, and it’s clear that the network is something people want and need.

Deputies tell me they don’t often get the opportunity to attend events or meetings. So, opportunities to meet up with colleagues from other organisations to learn together and share together are rare.

The feedback I get tells me we’re getting things right in Greater Manchester. I’ve been blown away by the enthusiasm of people attending the network; they’rereally keen to learn and share.

They’re such an engaging group of people to work with; sharing information, knowledge and skills. I run a workshop at each meeting, with networking opportunities before we start, at the break and afterwards.

We’ve covered subjects like effective supervision, performance management and CQC inspections during the workshops. What’s really pleasing is that people aren’t just attending; they’re going away and making changes!

For example, at the meeting after the workshop on effective supervision I heard lots of comments about what people had done as a result of the session. It has made people think about how they delivered supervision and how important it is to get it right.

Part of that is about helping people to recognise their own importance and their place in something bigger. When you’re busy it’s easy to only think of supervision as an operational task, rather than as something that influences leadership and culture.

This has an impact for the managers of people attending this network as well. Good registered managers need good deputies who understand their part in leading a service. After our last workshop on CQC inspection, deputies were saying they felt better prepared to support their manager. I’m always impressed by how committed they are towards looking after people and leading their teams.

It seems to me that there’s often a gap in terms of succession planning and supporting deputies, but feedback from managers and commissioners locally has been excellent and there’s a lot of support for thisnetwork.

Top tips

For anyone thinking about doing something similar I’d say:

  • getting registered managers’ support to encourage their deputies to attend is really important; making links to existing registered manager networks can help as they already know how valuable this support is 
  • be deliberate about the structure; the workshop sessions I run offer a development opportunity and means everyone finishes a meeting feeling like they have something for them 
  • think about timings and venues; everyone is busy, so travel and location are key 
  • get people to think about how they stay in touch between meetings. I always encourage people to swap email addresses.

In Greater Manchester we’re already planning our next meeting, with the CQC attending to talk to deputies about medicines management and we’re hoping for another full house.

Find out more

  • Find out more about Registered Manager Networks in your local area at www.skillsforcare.org.uk/networks
  • Follow our June/July campaign around ‘Developing managers’ here and on Twitter at #DevelopingManagers