Back in the April issue of Care Management Matters, I talked about the Care Quality Commission’s (CQC’s) new guidance on Relationships and sexuality in adult social care services. This guidance was developed because people who use services, providers and inspectors told us how important it was to be clear about what good care and support looks like for people’s relationships and sexuality.
Listening to and responding to the views and ideas of our stakeholders is a key part of how we work as a regulator and this month I want to share a different way that we’re doing this – via a digital participation platform.
Over the last year we’ve been speaking to providers and the public about how you engage with us. One of the key messages has been that we could do more to involve more people, across more of England, more regularly.
Traditionally, we have held a lot of our engagement discussions face-to-face. We run a programme of co-production events, expert advisory groups for specific projects, hold monthly meetings with trade association organisations, alongside other conversations and meetings that help us gather in-depth, important insight from external partners about work we’re developing. These will remain an important part of how we gain feedback and develop relationships with other people and organisations, but we know that it’s not always easy or possible to attend a meeting in person.
This challenge got us thinking about how we can use technology to bring more people into our conversations.
Technology can be daunting for many of us, so it’s really important that where it’s used, the technology is intuitive and easy to navigate. Our existing Online Community has been a great source of expertise for us, but we know the website itself is clunky and hard for a lot of people to use. Considering this, we researched alternative platforms that have been designed with users in mind.
The digital participation platform that we’re currently piloting is meeting our ambitions for ease of use:
- 98% say that signing up is easy or very easy.
- 96% say that the information on the platform is easy to understand.
- 91% say that the platform is visually appealing.
We’ll be testing this throughout the pilot and making changes in response to people’s ideas for how the platform could be improved, but it’s looking promising so far.
If you haven’t already signed up, I encourage you to do so. Once registered, you can get involved in different ways: respond to surveys, review documents, post your own ideas, and vote on and join in with discussions about other ideas. The platform also helps us to keep you in the loop about how your ideas and views have been used, how projects are developing over time, and what engagement we’ve done at earlier points in a project.
This pilot will be running until the end of June. If you do sign up, please remember to let us know what you think about this approach.
I really hope that this platform, as it develops and improves with your feedback, will mean we hear from more people across the country and in different roles. In adult social care alone, there is a huge range of services and roles, working in different geographies and with diverse communities. Making it as easy as possible for all these groups to get involved will help us improve how representative the feedback we’re getting is of all our stakeholders. That’s something worth working towards.
You can sign up at cqc.citizenlab.co.
In other news, you may have read that Kate Terroni has started her new role as Chief Inspector of Adult Social Care. I know that she’s looking forward to speaking with providers as she settles into life at CQC and I’m sure you’ll all join me in giving her a warm welcome.
Debbie Ivanova is Deputy Chief Inspector of Adult Social Care at the Care Quality Commission. Share your thoughts and feedback on Debbie’s column in the comments section below.