Thursday, 27 September 2012

Breakfast with the National Skills Academy for Social Care at NCVO

Richard Banks of CPEA Ltd and SCA

About 15 participants - care home training staff, owners and a few consultants plus Charlotte Tuck a communication person from DH enjoyed an educated breakfast at NCVO this week. All the (non-edible) materials for the session can be found at

This was one of two NSA member events (another is scheduled in Sheffield on 30th October) to:

  • Update on the social care climate
  • Report on the survey of Registered Managers – ‘Everyday Excellence’
  • Inform about the ‘Careship’ programme on leadership and registered managers with different descriptions aimed at different roles with in sector
  • Report on research for NSA on care sector reputation – ‘Who cares’
  • Advise on integration thinking with Skills for Care

Sir Stuart Etherington (CEO NCVO) provided a welcome to building and a summary of the environment for the charitable sector. After what might, in hindsight, be regarded an a era of growth the charitable sector he said it was now suffering from reduced giving related to recession and cuts in contracting as public sector reduce costs. Ideas of government about the ‘Big Society’ appear to have gone but he thought they did encompass hopes for increase in social investment, localism and public sector reform. The response of the charitable sector has been more mergers and a focus on core or particular successful areas of work. Sir Stuart acknowledged that the charitable sector were often pressed into contracting for poorly considered care services whereas good social enterprises had access to start up funds to support more radical redesign of services. He expressed a belief that the definitions between charities, social enterprise and public interest were getting blurred in people’s minds if not in legal status. He remarked on the success in changing government proposals that would have damaged tax on contributions.

Debbie Sorkin reminded us of demographic demand and that mismatch with public funding quoted David Behan ‘austerity is the new real’ and Clive Bowman ‘social care is being brutalised’
She thanked SCA for support on pointing out the need to focus on registered managers and introduced the report. NSA response is to support registered managers to overcome defensive practice (illustrated by a story about therapeutic use of pets being banned from a home after a dog tripping incident which caused no harm) and develop links into networks. Marcia Asare will be in charge of registered manager activity for NSA.

Discussion was about poor inspection practice on nutrition, lack of leadership from government but mostly focused on the positive ideas of networks for managers. Some interest was vocalized on ideas about registered managers as local resources (information on issues of ageing for example) but main focus was on dealing with isolation of managers and providing a source for sharing and gaining thoughts on good practice.

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