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12/09/2013 - Driving Up Quality in Services for People with Learning Disabilities

Driving up Quality logoOrganisations who provide support for people with learning disabilities are going to be asked to sign up to a new initiative called the Driving Up Quality Code to ensure they aim beyond minimum standards to improve the lives of people in their care.  The Driving Up Quality Alliance, which is  provider led has taken action and developed the new code in response to the abuse of people with learning disabilities at Winterbourne View private hospital in 2011, to ensure this can never happen again.

The Driving up Quality Code has been developed by members of the Driving Up Quality Alliance, a steering group of representatives from provider organisations chaired by the Housing and Support Alliance has led on the work with support from: the Care Quality Commission, the Department of Health, the Association of Directors of Adults Social Services, the Challenging Behaviour Foundation and NHS England.

The Driving up Quality Code sets out 5 key areas that indicate the practices of a good organisation:

  1. Support is focused on the person
  2. The person is supported to have an ordinary and meaningful life
  3. Care and Support focuses on people being happy and having a good quality of life
  4. A good culture is important to the organisation
  5. Managers and board members lead and run the organisation well

The Self Assessment has been set out deliberately to encourage organisations to think more carefully about how they operate and avoid a tick box approach

The Driving up Quality Code is voluntary and providers who sign up will be making a public commitment to the principles of the code.  Providers from the various sectors including housing, support, residential care and healthcare providers will be asked to self-assess against the code annually, and there will be a mechanism for anyone to challenge a provider. Health and Social Care Commissioners will be encouraged to sign up to the code to say that they will use it in their commissioning processes and work with providers who have adopted the code. The alliance will make public the commissioners that do and don’t sign up to the code. Information about who has signed up to the Code and how organisations are working towards meeting the Code is publicly available on www.drivingupquality.org.uk.

Susan Storrar, Director of Support at Advance, said: "We work with many people who have come from institutionalised, containing and restraining services. We learned, through the Tizard Centre at the University of Kent, how to properly support people who challenge, and we’ve seen over the years their lives change beyond anything we could have imagined when we started.

"We believe that everyone should get services that achieve that and this helps organisations to see where they need to get to, and the pitfalls. It pulls no punches about what’s bad support. Providers need to take responsibility for the bad things they do, and we're doing just that. The Toolkit will be used extensively to help us to reduce the things we do that get in the way of people leading good lives, determined by their own wishes and aspirations."

Norman Lamb, Minister of State for Care Services is pleased to endorse the Driving up Quality Code.  He said, “This is an excellent document which has been prepared by the learning disability provider sector across England. I am very pleased that providers are taking responsibility for ensuring there is a culture of continuous improvement and transparency. I understand that both the Association of Directors of Adult Services and the Care Quality Commission are fully supportive of the Code, and we would like to see it become the industry standard across the learning disability sector. I particularly want to endorse this code because it addresses some of the fundamental issues that were identified at Winterbourne View. This includes a lack of appropriate training for staff and inadequate concern for the views of people with learning disabilities and their families. This code is an integral part of the system wide improvement plan following Winterbourne View. I hope that this will lead to real action that will help to transform people’s lives.”

President of the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services, Andrea Pope-Smith says, “ADASS is pleased to endorse the Driving Up Quality Code and we invite commissioners to encourage sign up to the code as part of our ongoing contact with providers and to promote this as best practice.  It is good to see that providers are taking responsibility for ensuring there is a culture of reflection, openness and transparency within organisations and the wider sector.  We particularly want to support this code as is part of the improvement plan following Winterbourne View and addresses some of the issues that were identified.”