Skills for Care

The care exchange - Series 3

The Skills for Care podcast 'The care exchange' celebrates the role of managers in social care.

Hear real-life insights into being a manager in social care including best practices, experiences and top tips which will inspire your own approach to being a registered manager.  

Our podcast is a place where managers can listen to other managers, feel less isolated and pick-up new ideas to support them in their own role.   

Pia Rathje-Burton a Skills for Care locality manager, is back to host the podcast with new co-host Wendy Adams who is also a locality manager. 

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Episode 1: It’s not a soft cushion, scented candles approach to leadership

Starting this series with a thought-provoking conversation is Professor Michael West OBE who discusses compassionate leadership.  

He describes how ‘listening with fascination’ is so crucial for managers and explains how to create more effective compassionate teamwork. He also talks about how to support a stressed workforce and why it’s so important to practice self-compassion.

Resources to support this podcast  

Downloads and PDFs

S3 E1 full transcript


Episode 2: I love data

Paul Tolley, CEO of New Directions Rugby, shares how much he loves data and the importance of using workforce data within your service. He talks about partnerships - partnerships with volunteers, your local communities and other registered managers and the added value this provides to your service. We also hear how important it is to be part of your local community, how peer partnerships can prepare you for CQC inspections and how partnerships can ensure that you are proud of your service.


Episode 3: I compare being a care home manager to a football manager

Multi award winning registered manager Ben Miller from Castleford House joins the care exchange for an extended chat about making continuing improvements to his service, to his recruitment strategy and to his role as a leader.

Ben shares how his thirst for learning has resulted in a complete transformation of recruitment, retention and culture within his service. He talks about how he has used podcasts and research about social care and other sectors to think about how to make changes and offers some top tips about how managers can use social media to both recruit staff and showcase the excellent work they have done within their service. 

Watch Ben talk about the changes he made to his recruitment and retention strategy in a recording made prior to coming on The care exchange.


Episode 4: Be less British, be more American

How do you become rated Outstanding in all five domains – not once but three times?   

Hayley Taylor and Dan Gower-Smith from Avenues South East join the care exchange and talk about how they did just that. They share how they ensured that their values are embedded into everything they do throughout the organisation, the importance of culture and the work they do with families. They share the ‘smile moments’ they have experienced and the importance of celebrating the things that do go well, but also talk about learning from things that don’t go to plan and how they love to use a spreadsheet for everything! 


Episode 5: It doesn't matter the colour of the cat...

Explore compassionate leadership with Rosemary Pavoni who is a retired registered manager. She believes that “It doesn’t matter the colour of the cat as long as it catches the mouse” – in other words, it doesn’t matter why you practice compassionate leadership as long as it achieves its goal.

Rosemary talks about her career and how she learnt that compassionate leadership is crucial in staff wellbeing, retention and in creating safe supported cultures. She discusses learning from mistakes, the importance of learning and development for new managers and how she misses being part of a team.


Episode 6: Sometimes we need to take a breath and see the bigger picture

As registered managers, it’s easy to get caught up in the daily running of the service and not be aware of the bigger strategic changes taking place.

Jo-Anne Wilson, the registered manager of a Royal British Legion Nursing home joins us to talk about her work with the Integrated Care Board and the Social Care Nursing Advisory Council, being part of a documentary on dementia care and how she supports staff wellbeing with her 300 staff.

Jo-Anne has a huge passion for raising the profile of social care and, of course, we couldn’t chat to Jo-Anne without asking her about getting her recent MBE from King Charles!

Don’t forget you can nominate your colleagues for the Chief Nurse Adult Social Care Award which is open to all social care workers and nursing working in Social Care in England.

Downloads and PDFs

S3 E6 full transcript

Useful links




Episode 7: Power our carers through renewable energy 

Good Oaks Home Care is the first UK carbon neutral home care company. Ben Ashton, the co-founder and director joins us to talk about what you have to do to become carbon neutral, why it is so important and how it fits so well with values-based recruitment and retention. Ben also talks about his positive experiences and shares his learnings of recruiting internationally.


Episode 8: Our aim is to break down barriers

We talk to Aeon Anderson from the African Caribbean Community Initiative about lots of things including:

  • what it’s like to manage a service that supports people from an African Caribbean background with mental health issues
  • how to recruit the right staff, manage a diverse team and ensure that the staff feel supported
  • planning and delivering learning and development that meets the needs of the individual staff members whether they are new to the service or have worked there a long time.

Aeon has been the Chair of the Registered Managers Network for a number of years now and was nominated for the West Midlands Registered Manager of the year award 2022. Aeon has received numerous awards including:

  • Alicia Spence Award 2022 for supported housing services to mental health - A.C.C.I. Annual Gala and Awards
  • Winner of the Wolverhampton Registered Manager of the Year 2022. (The West Midlands Care Association & Wolverhampton City Council)


Episode 9: With good culture you can achieve anything

We are joined by Zoe Fry OBE from the Outstanding Society who is also the host of the ‘Care Insights’ podcast for out final episode. Together we look back at guests that have featured on both podcasts, and we reflect on the importance of positive leadership, leading by example and having a good workplace culture. We also discuss the benefits of looking outwards and learning from others.

Downloads and PDFs

S3 E9 full transcript