Aspiration – the lifeblood of any organisation

Posted on December 9th, by admin in CT blog. 2 comments

By Caring Times editor-in-chief Dr RICHARD HAWKINS

‘About as much chance as finding hen’s teeth’, is how a care home owner described to me the chances of her home achieving a CQC ‘Outstanding’ rating. Actually, statistically, her chance is slightly better at about 0.8% according to the (excellent) CQC website.

The owner went on to say that she had stopped bothering to try: “Why try when the reason CQC is not awarding ‘Outstanding’ is that they are too nervous to, on the half chance that something might go badly wrong just after they have left? It’s nothing to do with how good we are”.

And then she revealed her final reason: “Why bother when there’s only one direction to go from ‘Outstanding’ and that’s down. ‘Good’ is good enough for me”.

A pragmatic approach it certainly was but I wonder what it’s like working for her. The message that ‘Good’ is good enough for me is hardly inspiring. How many of the top managers will be rushing to work for her?

Aspiration – believing you, us, can be better – even the best – is the lifeblood of successful organisations. Take it away and any organisation will fall into mediocrity or worse.

So let’s not allow CQC’s anxieties to affect how we work. Aspiring to provide outstanding care is the only way forward, and if it’s not recognised today, it may be tomorrow.

– The CT Blog is written in a personal capacity – comments and opinions expressed are not necessarily endorsed or supported by Caring Times.

2 responses to “Aspiration – the lifeblood of any organisation”

  1. John Burton says:

    Richard, you encapsulate one of the biggest problems in social care. On the face of it why wouldn’t we all try our best to be “outstanding”? Not to do so would appear to be half-hearted and complacent.
    But, CQC’s definition of outstanding, as with all their ratings, is very particular yet variable. They do their best to standardise the ratings, but it is impossible to do so. Some areas of inspection can be justifiably quantified and a clear judgement made, but others are matters of attitude, feeling, opinion, experience and understanding, and, in order to sustain the facade of impartial exactitude, CQC has to pretend that such matters don’t exist.
    I guess that most of the few “outstanding” services are ones where a perceptive inspector has found all the easy judgement areas to be sound and has been bowled over by the relationships, by the pleasure of being in a place where people live life as fully as they wish. But what if the inspector doesn’t pick up the atmosphere? What if they don’t understand what’s going on? What if they misinterpret close, loving relationships as over-familiarity or even raising safeguarding issues? Well, what would be an outstanding home to one inspector becomes a place that “requires improvement” to another.
    Yes, I agree with your home owner: just settle for good. After all, they run the home for the residents not for CQC.

  2. Bob Ferguson says:

    Whether ‘Good’ is good enough for one despondent home owner isn’t the issue. ‘Good’ isn’t necessarily good enough for anyone. Look closely at the criteria and you’ll see that what bears the label ‘Good’ should actually be called ‘Compliant’. That’s all it really is. Unfortunately, ‘compliance’ – not only the word, but the whole idea – has been expunged from the regulator’s vocabulary. Pity.

    Exacerbating the problem is the yawning gap between ‘Good’ and what CQC, in its wisdom, has called ‘Outstanding’, a gap that could (should?) have been filled by an additional level, say, ‘Very Good’ – provided, of course, ‘Good’ really did signify good and not just compliant. Are you still with me? All these words are making me dizzy. Perhaps the ratings should be numerical. Star ratings, anyone?

    It’s as well to bear in mind that the award of ‘Outstanding’ won’t be made by the inspector; it will emerge from the formula – like the smoke from the Vatican chimney. Something that was established in the name of objectivity. Now, nobody can possibly object to objectivity – if you see what I mean. Trouble is, it has been used by CQC to replace rationality. And nowhere more so than in what passes for its review system. But that’s another story altogether.

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