This week the agency that supplies Steven’s support workers were inspected by the CQC. It sounds like it was a very thorough inspection. They spent a long time in the office – they spoke to me – they spoke to three of the support workers – and, they spoke to Steven’s social worker, or for some reason, the manager of the positive behaviour unit. It may be that the CQC still have him as their contact point from three years ago. I know that whilst Steven was held in the unit, I was deliberately blocked from giving feedback – when the CQC did their inspection of the agency a year later, they were surprised that I existed!
The reason why I’ve mentioned that we don’t know whether it was the social worker or the unit manager who gave feedback, is because the only negative feedback came from that quarter. And it struck me as being a bitter move. And like so much else connected with the LA, so biased as to be laughable. But it’s not laughable because the reputation of the agency hangs on things like this.
For the past four years, Steven has gone once a week to a day centre run by the positive behaviour team. In all honesty, I’d rather he didn’t go there. Our history is contaminated and there is always the risk that they will still interpret Steven’s behaviour through their 2010 lens and cause all sorts of problems. The support workers are bundles of anxiety whilst they are they – continuously being watched and their interactions with Steven logged by the centre’s own staff. It must be a horrible working atmosphere. I found out recently that the centre has been “rebranded” or “reimagined” – it isn’t a day centre any more – it’s an “outreach base”. God knows what that means but it might mean another of the new innovations (like meeting in Costa), where the expectation is you start at the building and then go off somewhere from there. That’s pure guesswork though.
Despite my reservations, Steven still goes there because he seems to like the place. He likes the three other service users and looks forward to seeing the manager there and having a sing song. He is there for four hours and the only thing he does there is to make his pepperoni pizza – there is nothing else to do, so the rest of the time, he sits and watches the telly.
The feedback the CQC received was that there were concerns about the lack of interaction with the support workers and they were not motivating Steven to engage with the activities on offer. This is where the framing becomes a bit dodgy. The feedback makes it sound like the place is a hive of activity but the reality is quite the opposite. It is hard for the support staff to motivate Steven to do something that doesn’t exist. But that piece of the jigsaw is left out of the official feedback. I’m going to ring the CQC on Monday and put them straight on that one – I don’t like them being misled – especially as the misleading is only done to score some bitter points.
The only other query that came out of the inspection was the “lack of record keeping”. I knew that would come up ever since I decided last year not to keep any of those intrusive logs in the house any more. It was quite an awkward moment with the CQC man because he obviously took it for granted that every home care package should come with a mountain of paperwork. But that’s not my problem – if the agency need to keep records purely for an inspection, they can do that and keep them in their office.
So, all in all, a good inspection, soured slightly by the continual need of the LA to get in a revenge poke whenever the opening arises. Such a shame.