Posted: 22 July 2021
The Kirklees Registered Managers Network were delighted when Minister of State for Social Care Helen Whately joined their recent meeting. Network Chair Karen Pogson tells us what it was like having Helen join them and the benefits of being part of a Registered Managers Network.
The Kirklees Registered Managers Network (Community Services) was formed in 2016 and currently has 69 members. We love our network; the members actively participate and are extremely generous with their support, time, and sharing of resources.
We’ve developed really positive relationships with Kirklees Council, the Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), Care Quality Commission (CQC), and Skills for Care during this time. This now enables us to resolve issues quickly, obtain speedy responses to queries, and maximise all the resources, knowledge, and expertise available.
Working with these teams we’ve run joint training sessions, hosted our ‘Quality workshops’, produced Registered Manager Network (RMN) posters to circulate among all our staff teams, and created a resource library. Our WhatsApp group is a quick way of consulting each other and sharing new guidance and ideas.
Meeting with Helen Whately
Recently, we invited Helen Whately, Minister of State for Social Care, to our RMN meeting to give her an insight into what we love about working in social care, the positives that have come out of the pandemic, the issues that remain, and what we would like to see moving forward. We also wanted to ask a few questions about parity of pay and the mandating of vaccinations.
Skills for Care helped us to contact Helen’s office and set up the meeting. We were absolutely thrilled when Helen agreed to attend and felt passionately that we wanted to get the most out of this opportunity, and to get our messages across in a clear and balanced way. We hoped the positivity of our network would shine through.
We put a lot of preparation into the meeting and used a word cloud app to create a visual representation of everyone’s views on the items discussed.
What we discussed
Helen participated fully in the meeting. She started out by thanking us all for our commitment and hard work throughout the pandemic and acknowledged how difficult it must’ve been. We talked about the funding of social care and the need to be able to offer staff parity of salary and terms and conditions, as enjoyed by our health care and local authority partners. We explained that we saw this as the main barrier to the integration agenda, recruitment, and society’s view of the value of our sector. One of our members made a point, that the parity of responsibility and tasks expected of us didn’t match the funding received.
Helen was genuinely interested in the issues raised and made plenty of notes. She explained that the government intends to bring forward proposals for social care reform later this year, and so we’re looking forward to seeing how that progresses.
On a lighter note, we discussed how the care badge helps to raise the profile of the social care sector. It was great to see Helen wearing hers during interviews and we see this as sign of solidarity with those of us working in social care.
The meeting overran by 20 minutes as everyone had plenty to say and Helen gave this time freely.
Helen ended by thanking us for our time and for providing insights into our work. She vowed to keep working hard to support our sector. Helen also commented on the positivity shown by the managers and we were pleased that this was recognised.
Overall, we were very impressed and touched by Helen’s acknowledgement of our challenges, as well as her interest in listening to our issues at such a local level.
The value of Registered Manager Networks
This will go down as one of our highlights at the network. As we get back on with our everyday work, we’re turning our focus on to integrating the ‘I and We’ statements into our organisations, preparing for completion of the provider information return (PIR), and making sure the guidance on closed cultures is embedded into our services. We plan to set up a ‘Quality workshop’ around this and will be inviting our CQC, CCG, local authority, and Skills for Care partners to join us.
Right now, we’re grappling with ever increasing staff shortages due to isolating and school bubble closures. In times like this it’s so great to have a network of like-minded managers to call on for practical and emotional support.
We’re so proud of what we’ve achieved in Kirklees and with our Registered Manager Network, and we know that ultimately having this network is improving outcomes for our clients and helping them live their best life.
Find out more about your local network and how to join.