Director Paul Adams explains how independent reporting system Say So is helping care home operators reduce risks, maintain high standards and create a better working environment during this difficult time.
The care sector is facing its greatest ever challenge, therefore, providers need access to even more information to keep care standards high and ensure carers and other employees feel valued. Whilst most care providers will have their own internal systems to capture information – many care staff don’t feel comfortable enough to speak up.
One care staff member revealed that she couldn’t sleep at night because she couldn’t speak up about something going on at work that she knew was wrong. We know there are many good and conscientious care staff in this position.
There are many reasons why people can’t report workplace concerns and these are very well known and documented; from straight forward bullying and intimidation by colleagues, supervisors and managers; the stigma about speaking up about others; the fear of losing employment; and to just not wanting the attention or stress that will come from becoming a witness at a tribunal or court. Standing up openly is beyond the character of some highly dedicated and capable care staff and with little support and understanding from their employers’ senior leadership who can blame them?
In the face of the current crisis, care homes have had to limit visitors and other people entering, therefore, transparency in a care setting is becoming more and more important. We’ve seen more homes installing the Internet and CCTV. However, even an in-house reporting system is still not the total answer if you want more people to report issues and worries in a safe and non-confrontational manner. Therefore, having an independent reporting system that keeps people anonymous is a great way of gathering vital information about risks to individuals and the care business.
Having an independent service can generate 3x more reports than using an internal system. People just feel more comfortable using such a service, especially if you add in personal briefings, rapport building with staff and feedback regarding their reports.
Say-So created such a service in 2017. It was formed by Shaun Keep and Paul Adams who had long careers in investigating cases of abuse against the vulnerable.
Using an independent service can identify many more issues from preventing abuse, improving working practices, identifying training needs and resolving unfairness, to bullying and conflict in the workplace. The reality is that staff don’t feel they can trust the internal systems that are linked back to their own managers and bosses.
A rise in reports from staff with concerns about COVID-19 related matters has been noted by Say So and this will be likely to continue as we move through the phases of the pandemic. Care staff will need additional support and understanding for much longer to help them recover physically and emotionally. Having an independent tool can help care providers identify these issues early and enable actions to be taken quickly. Taking such action also demonstrates that the care provider values its people, it also can help mitigate costs. An audit and analysis exercise on the most recent reports collected by Say-So revealed 17 issues of concern. Conservatively, these reports will have provided sufficient information to save on average over £50,000 per report from unnecessary worst-case scenario costs.
Having an independent reporting system ultimately helps providers improve care standards, support staff and reduce avoidable financial and reputational costs. It just makes so much good business sense, even in non-pandemic times!