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Date:February 10, 2015

Woodford Homecare & Support Services

Helen Wilcox, Director of Woodford Homecare

Woodford Homecare & Support Services is regulated by the Care Quality Commission provides domiciliary care and support in Wolverhampton and Dudley. They are proud of their reputation for providing caring and responsive services to people focusing on the outcomes they want, to help them to feel safe and valued and, to have the best quality of life possible.

With a total commitment to the delivery of quality services Helen has, during her professional life as a teacher and social worker, always known that quality services are predicated up on a quality workforce motivated to aspire and achieve qualifications and equally feeling they are being valued and treated as an individual.

Woodford Homecare were participants in an earlier pilot that helped shape the on-line personality profiling questionnaire and, as such, were very keen to participate in the wider project of piloting the overall VBRT resources. Through this later pilot they have used a number of the VBRT resources including the value-based interview questions, the Leadership Qualities Framework (LQF) and the on-line personality profiling questionnaire (PPQ) that have informed new roles to drive a quality and values-based culture and are embedded into their standard recruitment and staff development processes.

Helen Wilcox, Director of Woodford Homecare, talked to the Evaluator about how they developed their ‘Whole Organisation Approach’ to cultural change and their emerged strategy to deliver increased choice and control for people who use their services. Having learned from good practice values frameworks and from national reviews that highlight poor practice, e.g. Winterbourne View and Francis Report into Mid-Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust, Woodford Homecare committed to recruiting for values and behaviours, despite the paucity of tools to support their aspiration.

Initially, through looking at the LQF, they decided to focus on developing leadership from the front-line through the recruitment and development of front-line staff who are able to work directly with people who use services to exercise their choice and control. Using the leadership qualities framework to write job profiles, new roles were developed ‘Quality and
Compliance Leads’ (QCL), who have been developed as role models to ‘walk the talk’ working directly with front-line staff to promote and develop good, values-based practice and use supervision as a vehicle to reflect practice.

Helen says “preparing for supervision has been enhanced by our QCL’s, who, having more specific intelligence about the supervisee, have been able to make supervision more person-centred, modelling the kind of behaviours that we want them [front-line staff] to evidence in their practice” Helen added, “we have been able to openly discuss perceived challenges and a plan built on their strengths, their values, their attitudes and our joint aspiration to achieve a win : win for people who receive care and support which has fitted well with our culture of being proactive with staff feeling that they are being valued as an individual”.

The initial test of the PPQ was undertaken by a number of existing staff to inform progression opportunities and decisions as well as recognising that despite investment, good leadership and management the reshaping of some existing staff was not going to happen and led to supporting activity and decisions to move them on. Helen reports, “Informing decisions not to proceed was equally as important as making appointments as it allowed real testing out of the alignment of verbal presentation and testing its validity during interviews”. Woodford’s recruitment process has also been reviewed. Helen reports that recruitment is front-loaded in terms of investment with authority and responsibility being delegated to the QCL’s to recruit the ‘right’ front line staff with the ‘right’ attitudes and behaviours to fit out values-based culture. Feedback is offered to every candidate who completes the PPQ. This provided a constructive opportunity to offer feedback that could be used by candidates to access specific support to enhance their capabilities to develop into a potential recruit or be steered towards alternative employment.

The outcomes of Woodford’s approach have been significant. Helen fed back that organisationally, they have improved the tailoring of learning outcomes to suit individual staff and have a better understanding of how best they learn at the outset and can pair them with the best mentor to suit their profile as well as the mentor who provides the best match to the individual staff member. ‘Compatibility’ (matching of staff to the individual receiving service provision) is also better informed and greater success is evident. Further, in the time travelled during the pilot a higher satisfaction level for the people they support and the staff member is manifestly in evidence.

Helen adds, “there is more stability in recruitment and staff retention and increased our recruitment of younger people and they are demonstrating remarkable success in working with people who come with complex needs and behaviours.”

“A person-centred and values-based approach to our staff policy starts at recruitment and goes on during supervision and all learning and development thereafter. We have always taken time recruiting ensuring that there is a ‘win:win’ outcome and using the VBRT has provided a vehicle to progress our person-centred approach that has brought increased consistency and transparency to our recruitment and development practice.”