In my role as Minister for Care and Support, I am often humbled by the compassion and commitment shown each and every day by the people who deliver care and support to those in our society who need it most.
However, as a constituency MP, I know that members of the public can find it very difficult to make informed decisions about the care they choose for their loved ones, choices they often have to make at times of great emotional stress. I have encountered situations where people have felt unhappy with the quality of care they received – a feeling of being let down by our health and care system.
High profile cases where things have gone badly wrong – often due to a lack of information to support informed patient choices – have knocked the public’s confidence in our care system. But I know, from both professional and personal experience, that the public can be confident in the vast majority of care provided in this country. This is why I am so pleased to pledge my full support and, on behalf of the Department of Health, give the strongest endorsement possible to the Social Care Commitment.
The Commitment is a sector led initiative that focuses on improving workforce quality, instilling shared values, and driving the highest standards of professional, compassionate behaviour across adult social care. It brings coherence to existing initiatives and unites the sector in a common goal to improve quality. It is a declaration made by both employer and employees which says to the public: you can trust your care services and the organisations – and individuals – providing them. Knowing the sector has worked so hard to develop such a comprehensive and valuable initiative gives me great confidence that we can really secure the lasting improvements we all want to see across adult social care.
By making the commitment, providers are acknowledging their responsibility to ensuring workforce quality. For example, making sure training and development opportunities are available to staff or that their recruitment processes attract and identify people who share common values. It’s about a more transparent way of working, giving confidence to both the carer and the cared for, their friends and family.
Providers and employees are making a public statement of intent, not ticking a box because they have to, but choosing to make a commitment to achieving high standards. They care passionately about improving care services and want to demonstrate to the public that excellence can be standard; to raise expectations and restore confidence. The voluntary nature of the Social Care Commitment and the message this sends is part of what makes it so powerful and something the whole sector should be committing to.
The Commitment has been developed through a collaborative partnership of the sector’s leading employers and stakeholders. It focuses on key issues such as upholding dignity, staff development, and whistleblowing. Once people have made their commitment they are supported by a range of resources to help them make the changes needed to deliver the necessary improvements. It will also support them in identifying any gaps in training and learning and development.
To ensure the public will be able to see which Care Quality Commission registered providers have made the commitment we’ve linked to NHS Choices. Introducing more choice will help people get the care and support that’s right for them, and make services more responsive to their needs. It is really important for people to have reliable information about what good care looks like so they can make the right choices about the care they want; NHS Choices is full of tools and resources to help people make informed decisions about their care and support.
I firmly believe that when choosing and commissioning care and support people should be looking for the Social Care Commitment logo as an indicator that their chosen provider is committed to demonstrating the right behaviours and values in the workplace.
Fundamentally, this commitment from employers and staff will help foster a more open, transparent system that leaves bad care nowhere to hide and drives better standards across the board. It allows us to work together to ensure people who need care and support can have confidence in finding a quality provider to support them in ways that are right for them and their loved ones.
This is why I am encouraging every employer and every employee working in adult social care to go online and make the Social Care Commitment.