Any business or organisation, large or small, is nothing without their workforce. They’re the people who turn up every day to make sure the work gets done.
One of the most significant developments within the Conwy workforce this last year has been around building support networks between staff. This has helped to develop and share best practice, set standards for supervision and sometimes more informally, to encourage teams to work together and be innovative in the way they find solutions to problems.
Establishing and implementing a Practice Development Forum within Adult Social Services
Within the Learning Disability Team, the managers wanted to develop and implement a Practice Development Forum to influence Team development and change.
‘Practice Development is a reflective support process for staff to develop their knowledge and competence. It enables them to review their practice, take responsibility for their work and promote quality in their field of expertise. It is critical to quality improvement and improved service user experience’
(NHS Walsall, Community Health, 2009)
Why is there a need for this work?
- To drive up the standards in Social work practice;
- To adopt a collective approach for learning and improvement in practice;
- To improve outcomes for those in receipt of services;
- To meet Key National Drivers including the ‘Social Services Well-being Bill, 2013’ and New Post Qualification Framework, Care Council for Wales, 2013.
- We now hold quarterly Practice Development Forums within the Learning Disability Team which has created further interest from practitioners within other disciplines;
- Ownership of our standards – all practitioners have a part to play.
- Better outcomes for those we support via shared learning, applying research in practice and reflecting on complex case work.
- Additional support which complements individual supervision sessions
- Improved staff morale via shared experiences and time to learn.
What difference has it made?
- Valuable opportunity for learning in practice and professional development;
- Team development via a collective approach to change and learning through reflection and shared experiences.
- Continuous evaluation of what we do well and what we need to improve on so that the quality of service ultimately improves.
- Better outcomes for service recipients via a skilled workforce.
Integrating the Codes of Practice for Social Care Workers
All staff should ensure that their practice is in line with the Codes of Practice for Social Care Workers as laid out by the Care Council for Wales. This should be covered during the induction stage when new staff start. Within Learning Disabilities in-house services, a team of approximately 100 staff support adults who have a learning disability, in various aspects of their day to day lives.
To ensure consistent high quality services, sessions were held with staff to go through the Codes, as a reminder of the standard that was expected.
The practice development forums have been an ideal way for staff to work in groups to go through the Codes and share examples of good practice.
What difference has it made?
- In addition to attending the sessions, staff use the evidence that they have gathered as feedback against the competencies in the PDR framework.
- Feedback we have received from all three has been positive.
- At the end of each session, each individual recalls the best examples they have given during the session. These are collated and we plan to put together a booklet to highlight good practice examples. This will be shared within the Learning Disabilities Team.
This post is also available in: Welsh