A female carer helping a lady make cupcake cakes

Choice and voice: a joint approach

The collaborative approach to a joint inspection between Healthcare Inspectorate Wales (HIW) and Care and Social Services Inspectorate Wales (CSSIW) led to a successful report launch involving service users and carers, and a big push on social media on launch day.

Publishing our findings in June, we – the two inspectorates – challenged local authorities and health boards to improve the planning and delivery of services for people with learning disabilities.

Together we delivered a lengthy national inspection programme in six local authorities and local health boards, to see how services were planned and delivered for people in those areas.

We met with advocacy and involvement groups, including All Wales People First [opens in new window] and the All Wales Forum of Parents and Carers [opens in new window], and we produced an all-Wales report, which we launched at an event at iSmooth [open in new window], a Mencap Cymru [opens in new window] social enterprise in Ammanford.

This was thoroughly appropriate for this particular report, and gave the report more meaning than if it was a generic conference venue.

Many members of staff at iSmooth have learning disabilities and it was important that the venue was relevant to the types of issues discussed in the report, about the support available for people with learning disabilities.

Kevin Barker, inspector and CSSIW lead on the inspection said the process demonstrated a commitment to do what we expect others to do: work together to achieve a better result.

“Actions will always speak louder than words,” he said.

Online reaction

Words spoke loudly on the day of the report launch, with tweets between 28-29 June on the English-language @CSSIW Twitter channel [opens in new window] reaching more than 8,000 people.

Of those people who saw the tweets, 2.2% of them either clicked on them, clicked on links in them or expanded the images.

The most popular tweet from the launch which was seen by more than 2,240 people was the video of Wayne Crocker, Director at Mencap Cymru. It was retweeted 7 times and had 7 likes, by partners such as Mencap Cymru.

Meanwhile, tweets on CSSIW’s Welsh-language @Arolygu_gofal Twitter channel [opens in new window] reached 2,000 people over the two days. Of those people the tweets reached , 0.8% of them either clicked on the them or clicked on the link.

For the @HIW_Wales Twitter channel [opens in new window], which retweeted CSSIW’s tweets across the two days, their tweets reached 283 people, of which on average 0.4% of them engaged with them.

Valuable learning experience

Working together on such an important inspection programme has been a valuable learning experience for both organisations, commented Alun Jones, director of inspection, regulation and investigation for HIW [opens in new window].

“The resulting national inspection report and the individual local authority/health board reports are richer and more powerful for having input from both inspectorates,” he said.

“Our work has allowed us to shine a light on the way in which organisations work together to plan and deliver learning disability services.

“We have made a number of important recommendations which call for more effective joint working for the benefit of people with learning disabilities and their carers.”

Digging deeper

Richer more powerful reports were made possible by digging deeper with our inspection approach, explained HIW review manager, Emma Philander.

“From my point of view I feel that the highest quality care and support for adults with learning disabilities ensures that it meets the holistic needs of the person,” she said.

“By HIW and CSSIW working jointly it meant that we could better assess whether services were meeting people’s holistic needs, both from a health and social care perspective.

“Working together meant we could unpick the complexities of how health staff and social care staff were working together and the impact this had on people with learning disabilities.

“It meant we could dig deeper with our inspection approach and hold both the local authority and health boards to account to improve services for people with learning disabilities.

“I feel that both organisations learned from each other’s approaches and we look forward to building on this and collaborating more in the future.”

Policy and legislation manager for HIW, Nia Roberts, agreed.

“One of the other good things about this work was that we looked at health boards and local authorities at different levels,” she explained.

“We saw how colleagues from health and social services worked together on the front line to provide care and support to individuals with learning disabilities.

“We also asked senior representatives from health boards and local authorities to explain how they plan and commission to meet the needs of all people with a learning disability in their area. This involved scrutiny by both CSSIW and HIW.

“Given the provisions of the Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Act, this was important work, which was enriched by having both inspectorates involved.”

CSSIW project lead Kevin Barker concurred.

“There were many benefits from the joint work between CSSIW and HIW in this inspection, not least the range and quality of the evidence that it delivered,” he said.

“People with learning disabilities and their family carers often need help and support from both health and social services. They expect a joined up approach from the people and agencies involved and so do the inspectorates.”

You can read the joint inspection report on the CSSIW website [opens in new window].