Skills for Care

The care exchange - Series 2

The second series of the 'The care exchange' podcast continues to celebrate the role of managers in social care. 

Listen to real conversations with social care managers from across the sector and get practical advice to help in your day-to-day activities.

All episodes are hosted by Skills for Care locality managers Pia Rathje-Burton and Ali Rusbridge. 

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Episode 1: Springing out of bed in the morning

Guest Kate Terroni, CQC Chief Inspector for Adult Social Care, talks about the sleepless nights she suffered before her first CQC inspection. She discusses how leadership is a privilege, how happy workers equal high-quality care and the importance of keeping well. Kate also discusses coproduction and it's importance.


Episode 2: The snow globe effect

Martyn Dawes, registered manager and author, talks about how we all have a tendency to overthink things. He believes that for managers in stressful situations it’s important to stop, step back and create time to reset and wait for the answers to come. He also stresses the importance of making the right decisions, against making the easy decisions.    


Episode 3: Fly with wings

Mark Topps was a registered manager for six years, and in this podcast he reflects on his learnings during that time including the importance of sharing, making the role what you want it to be and having a good work-life balance.

Mark discusses the importance of standing up for what you believe and challenging things you don’t agree with. He also shares his top tips for using social media to network, find support and latest guidance.  


Episode 4: I’m handy with a drill  

Hear from Becky Coles who in 2020 became the youngest CQC registered manager of a newly built respite service. Becky shares her career journey, from work experience aged 15 through a range of roles via apprenticeships, to becoming a registered manager. She also talks to us about what it’s like to build a brand-new facility (hard hat included!), build up a team which feels like a family and develop local connections. 


Episode 5: Sleep at night

In a specially extended podcast, we’re joined by Sanjay Dhrona who is the Managing Director of The Close, an award-winning care home in Oxfordshire. We find out the steps he took to change the CQC rating from Inadequate to Outstanding in five years.

Sanjay talks about how he made changes to culture, management structures and his ‘win’ folder. Sanjay also discusses how to develop innovative practices, the importance of training staff on LGBTQ+ and why he has become involved with the Outstanding Society.


Episode 6: I’m a dictate obsessive

Ruth French the Operations Director for Stow Healthcare, an organisation that specialises in turning failed services around to become Outstanding talks about the importance of recognising that everyone is human and that we all make mistakes.

She shares her tips on colour-coded improvement plans, time-saving dictation, and golden gems. She also discusses why it’s so important to stand up and have your voice heard by telling your story and giving positive messages about social care in the media.


Episode 7: I don’t want to be just another suit

Jay Harper talks about his role as an area manager. He compares it to his previous role as a registered manager and admits that he is still a support worker at heart. Jay explains that ‘it’s not about me’ and proudly uses the word passionate in describing what he does to support people with learning disabilities.

Jay stresses the importance of a person-centred approach, being in the moment to ‘be there and feel it’ and to never under-estimate how being reflective can make you effective as well as the importance of developing yourself.


Episode 8: Registered managers are worth their weight in gold

Zoe Richardson talks about her role as a nominated individual. She explains how she sees the role as a job and not a title and how important she feels the role is in terms of ensuring registered managers are supported by continually asking “what do you need me to do?”

She stresses how much she values registered managers, and that organisational leadership is so important, because if “people think the leadership don’t care, then they don’t care.” She also talks about how important humour is to her and how it can really bring people together and help through the more difficult days.

Caldicott Guardian will be mandatory for adult social care services which receive public funds (local authority or NHS funding) to have a Caldicott Guardian by 30 June 2023. See the FAQs

Downloads and PDFs

Episode 8 transcript

Useful links

Nominated individuals


Episode 9: Young people are the future of social care

Kirsty Armstrong, registered manager of Kelly Park Ltd a home care organisation talks about her huge success in offering work placements for students and employing young people as a result.

She believes that young people are the future of social care and registered managers have a responsibility to give young people a positive perception of the sector and the range of opportunities available. Kirsty also talks about some recruitment and retention initiatives including the nurturing of staff which has made a real difference for her organisation. 


Episode 10: Perfection is the enemy of good enough

We speak to Andrew Davis, Managing Director of Right at Home Bournemouth and Poole.

Andrew reflects on how registered managers are often underestimated from those outside care, how he prioritises delegation and how perfection can be the enemy of good enough. Hear about the work that goes in to achieving an Outstanding CQC rating and how managers shouldn’t be afraid of blowing their own trumpet!

Andrew shares how they have used social media to promote the business, but also for their staff to feel a sense of pride for where they work and give them a sense of belonging. He also discusses the importance of always learning no matter how senior you may be as ‘you’re never too cool for school!’