The reviewed Manager Induction Standards are an excellent opportunity to offer a robust induction process for new managers. They set out clearly what a new manager needs to know and understand as they begin their management journey.
Since 2008, the Manager Induction Standards for adult social care in England have been a key tool in supporting the quality of management.
Leaders and managers are important to the success of their organisation and the social care sector as a whole. The effective induction of managers needs to be a key focus, so that they start off on the right step and in the right direction. The reviewed Manager Induction Standards 2016 support this process.
Who are they for?
The Standards are the first step to equip new and aspiring managers to perform well in their role. They’re a versatile tool and can be utilised by those new to post, existing managers and aspiring managers.
They can also be used as a benchmark of practice and potential learning and development needs, especially if a manager’s role has changed over the years. For aspiring managers, they can be used to increase their understanding of the expectations of the management role and increase their potential of securing management positions in the future.
Current government policy and reaction to a number of enquiries into poor practice have stressed the need for social care employers to ensure that their leaders and managers are competent and confident to meet both their current operational responsibilities and the challenges of evolving services. A robust and thorough induction is the start of this significant journey and is critical in assimilating a new manager into their role. Part of this requires understanding information about the context of the role, the services and the people who access them, as well as the processes used to deliver care and support. The Standards include a range of specific knowledge requirements, which can be used to ensure the induction period is focused and effective.
How can they be used?
The Standards can be used in a wide range of settings, from people who manage their own services or micro-employers, to small, medium and large organisations across the public, private and voluntary sectors. They have been developed with a range of different organisations in different settings to ensure they are fit for purpose.
Each new manager will need to demonstrate that they know, and can meet, the Standards as they apply to their own working environment. Although the Manager Induction Standards are not mandatory, they are definitely a measure of good practice. We would highly recommend that new managers should be able to demonstrate all the knowledge requirements of the Standards within six months of taking up a management role.
Once they’re covered in detail, they will ensure that managers develop the knowledge and understanding to help them gain basic management and effective communication skills.
Why have the Manager Induction Standards been reviewed?
The review of the Manager Induction Standards reflects the ever-evolving social care sector, which has transformed the role of the manager beyond all recognition.
The implementation of the Care Act has led to an increase in managers working with family carers, sharing expertise and working with social care management community groups or networks, not forgetting the increasing emphasis on personalisation, which should now be a standard approach in all services.
The government policy of integration and the current state of the economy demand new and emerging skills around digital working, information sharing and information governance. This is to ensure that data is shared safely and securely between organisations that are working closer together. This offers a joined-up service to people who access care and support.
The economic austerity in our country means that managers need to evaluate and measure impact in a much closer way than ever before. As managers work closely with commissioners to find more effective ways of working, they need to understand clearly the impact their service is having, and in what specific ways it offers value for money. A detailed picture of continuous improvement, performance management, capacity and capability is vital in ensuring a quality service for people who access care and support. This speaks volumes to both commissioners and regulators.
For consistency reasons, the emerging new Level 5 Diploma in Leadership in Health and Social Care qualification for leaders and managers also presented a timely opportunity to review the Manager Induction Standards. A new specification for this qualification has been agreed with awarding organisations. It takes the best of the old Level 5 Diploma in Leadership in Health and Social Care and puts it in a clearer language. The qualification should be available in 2017.
Each of the new Standards now reflects a new module in the qualification, with the same titles. This ensures that learners will be able to capture evidence whilst working on the Standards, which will relate closely to the diploma. We have also used the opportunity to ensure alignment of the Standards with other leadership products published by Skills for Care and the National Skills Academy for Social Care.
Key changes to the Standards
The Manager Induction Standards 2016 review was scheduled to ensure they still meet the needs of managers in social care.
After feedback from a wide range of employers in the sector, as well as a reflection on current practice, we made a number of additions to the Manager Induction Standards. These include information on working with family carers, digital skills, performance management and practical communication skills.
The changes in the Standards reflect the changing picture of adult social care provision and the need to be at the forefront of this and future changes. There is now a set of new Standards and specific changes, or additions to each area of work.
Leadership and management
We have added the concepts of leadership and management in an attempt to distinguish between the two and understand where each might be helpful in a manager’s role.
Governance and regulatory processes
The Care Act brings new central legislation, which has been added to this standard, in addition to greater detail of the Care Quality Commission inspection processes.
Employers told us that they wanted to ensure that managers had high levels of personal communication skills in practice, in addition to wider thinking about systems and protocols for communication. An additional area of information sharing has been included, along with information governance issues, which are high priority in the current integration agenda.
Relationships and partnership working
A greater emphasis has been placed on working with family carers, as the Care Act legislation highlights this very important aspect of a manager’s work.
Person-centred practice for positive outcomes
This standard now includes equality, diversity and inclusion, which was previously a separate standard. These areas support an outcomes-based approach in the use of person-centred practice.
Professional development, supervision and performance management
This standard was previously an optional standard, however employers told us that, even if new managers are not actually responsible for personal development, they should have a good understanding of what it includes. Some other additions include evaluation and impact of learning, digital skills, supervision practice and disciplinary and grievance procedures.
As there is an increasing demand for managers to evaluate their service delivery, the aspect of performance management of the service has now been added to this standard.
Safeguarding, protection and risk
As health and safety is such a key aspect of safeguarding, this area has now been included in this standard.
This is a new standard following on from the mapping of the Standards to the Leadership Qualities Framework, which is such a valued resource. Managers need to have high self-awareness and to be clear about the impact of their own values and attitudes. Understanding and championing vision is also a key part of this standard.
This is now listed as a separate standard as employers wanted to recognise the importance of making decisions and the challenges faced by managers who are making decisions every hour of every day.
Entrepreneurial skills and innovation
This is a new standard and links to the same areas in the Leadership Qualities Framework, increasing emphasis in sector policy and drivers.
Support for implementation
Skills for Care has produced a toolkit to support managers and their line managers to undertake the Standards. There is a separate workbook for each standard, which covers introductory theory and key concepts within that standard, as well as some thought-provoking exercises that can be applied to a manager’s specific situation to help them to understand how the Standards actually relate to practice on the ground.
Each workbook should be seen as a flexible tool to be used by the new or aspiring manager as they wish. Some may choose not to complete all the exercises included. The workbooks are designed as an introductory guide to the areas included in the standard; a more in depth understanding would be gained by taking the Level 5 Diploma in Leadership in Health and Social Care. However, the workbooks do give an excellent start to collecting useful evidence for that qualification.
More information is available at www.skillsforcare.org.uk/MIS
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