Understanding Service Quality and Improvement – Guest Blog, Robert Peat, Care Inspectorate

Work is underway to take forward the actions recommended in Social Services in Scotland:A Shared Vision and Strategy.  Over the next few weeks we will use Alan’s Blog to invite the members of the Social Services Strategic Forum who are leading one of the four workstrands to say more about the work they are taking forward with others on the Forum.  This week Robert Peat, Director of Inspection with the Care Inspectorate writes about Understanding Service Quality and Improvement.

Robert-Peat“Alan’s first guest blogger was Jane Devine who wrote about the Public Understanding workstrand of the Social Services Vision and Strategy.  This week I’ll say a bit more about the Understanding Service Quality and Performance workstrand and the work that myself and colleagues do in the Care Inspectorate to support this.

Kevin Mitchell our Acting Depute Director of Inspection (Children’s Services & Criminal Justice) recently attended the Health & Care Professions Council conference. The conference theme was ‘Building the evidence base of professional regulation: international perspectives’. The speakers were excellent.   The issue of engagement and disengagement in health and care professionals and its implications for our understanding of the competence of such professionals was discussed and the results of research commissioned by the HCPC entitled ‘Preventing small problems from becoming big problems in health and care’ were presented.

Jenny Bulbulia, a PHD candidate in psychology in Trinity College Dublin gave an excellent presentation linked to this entitled ‘Fostering Resilience at a personal, professional and organisational level: an international study of registered social workers’. Jenny’s research is drawn from social workers’ experiences from a number of countries, including the UK and she used case studies to illustrate her findings. Jenny also works with organisations and agencies in the area of child protection and sexual health. She delivers workshops and master classes, including child protection workshops to postgraduate programmes. Jenny has a strong belief in the importance of supporting health and social care professionals in understanding their professional, ethical and legal obligations in this challenging area of work.

Jenny has since accepted an invitation to speak at the Care Inspectorate National Conference in Edinburgh on 8 September 2015. This is an opportunity for all of our staff to come together to focus on key development issues. We have 16 offices around the country and also a considerable number of inspectors who are homeworkers, so it is an important annual event. In the meantime we are continuing to work on the review of our regulatory services methodology alongside our day to day work inspecting services.

The Care Inspectorate has a new Chief Executive, Karen Reid who has a significant challenge in meeting impending budgetary pressures whilst striving to work in more efficient and effective ways with a range of partners to further improve the quality of social work services in Scotland.

At the Care Inspectorate we are committed to the actions arising from the Vision and Strategy for Social Work Services in Scotland. I am leading the work stream which is looking at understanding service quality and improvement.

One action is the series of practitioner engagement events across the country with the most recent being on 28th July in Stirling.Stirling - Venue  This was well attended by over 80 practitioners from 11 different local authority areas with the independent, the voluntary and local authority sectors all represented.  Stirling Cab Sec 1Alan Baird gave an overview of the Vision and Strategy and the Cabinet Secretary for Education and Lifelong Learning spoke about the valuable work undertaken across the sector.   Two more events are still to be held – in Inverness on 25th August and Dundee on 22 September.

The Care Inspectorate holds a significant amount of qualitative evidence, from individual services inspection reports, strategic inspections and thematic reports.  Please look out for our Trennial Review in August.  This report will present findings from our scrutiny and improvement work during three years of operation (2011-14).  Our evidence base is significant and I trust the report will be of interest to all staff who work in care services across Scotland.

Robert Peat is Director of Inspection with the Care Inspectorate