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Making an Impact

When COVID-19 hit care homes, many felt completely alone. Tayvanie Nagendran, who describes the early days as like living a parallel life to those around her, found that connection was key. From this, she and colleagues created Care Providers’ Voice, an organisation which is collaborating widely to break down barriers long pre-dating the pandemic and rebuild innovative structures in their place.

Care Providers’ Voice (CPV) is a network connecting care providers across London, with a focus on North East London. Our platform is free to access and has been created by providers, for providers, to collate resources, ensure care providers are represented and to support recruitment.

The idea for CPV first came about when Mike Armstrong and I were introduced to one another in the early days of the pandemic by our Skills for Care locality manager. It was a very lonely time. Friends did not understand what we in social care were going through. Guidance was changing all the time and teams were looking to us for answers, when often we did not have them. The need for peer-to-peer support became very apparent, and it was from this desire to support one another, break this sense of isolation and get a fairer deal for care that CPV was born.

In two years, we have developed from this support system for local providers into a unified voice bringing about permanent, useful change via collaborative working and communication. We now sit on a range of groups at borough, sub-regional and regional levels across London, with a real focus on ensuring the voice of the care sector is heard and acted on.

Collaborating for change

Photos taken from the ‘Having a voice in Health and Social Care across London’ CPV event

We have partnered with local authorities, Skills for Care, North East London Health and Care Partnership (NEL HCP), Care City, Department for Work and Pensions, Job Centre Plus and Barking & Dagenham, Havering and Redbridge Community Education Provider Network (BHR CEPN) to find new ways in which we can all support each other to reach our mutual and independent goals. This includes supporting Job Centre staff to understand who to put forward for roles in social care, helping local authorities to have constructive conversations with care providers, and engaging providers with training opportunities for their staff.

CPV’s new website shows the benefits of working in this way. It is a member portal where our partners can list opportunities and information for providers. One key feature of the site is a shared calendar where partners can input their events, training courses and other relevant activities and providers can access a single point to find this information. Working with NEL HCP, NEL Careers Website and Skills for Care allows us all to collate resources, rather than duplicating work and ultimately creating a jarring experience for providers and partners.

We have formed extremely positive relationships with local authorities – we even work out of their offices now – and it’s come as a result of admitting that, historically, both parties have made mistakes. The council would hold meetings to hear from providers, but providers felt they weren’t listened to and stopped attending, so councils stopped holding them. We have worked to bring back these forums; we ensure that providers do attend and we support the council to make changes in line with what providers are telling them. Everyone benefits.

Ben Campbell, Commissioning Program Manager at London Borough of Havering Council, says, ‘The London Borough of Havering and care providers in the borough have been working together for a number of years developing and building a strong relationship which is to the benefit of all.

‘There was a desire from both care homes and the council to work on a project together that would involve a positive dialogue and deliver shared benefits. One of the first such projects concerned the review of the usual rates for care. Previously a contentious issue, Havering Care Association (HCA) helped put forward the collective concerns and issues of the market and jointly agreed an approach with the council that would show greater transparency. This has resulted in an improved process that has been positively received by both providers and the council. There have been many other successful joint initiatives, but the recent pandemic has demonstrated the benefit of the relationship. HCA and the council worked together to find solutions to difficult situations, provide mutual support and help keep residents safe and receiving good-quality care.

‘HCA have extended their reach to include homecare providers and now those providing supported living services and, in partnership with CPV, cover all care providers in neighbouring authorities, which has provided greater scope for joint working.’

Leading the way

It is clear that the work we do is valued by those across the system in North East London, with the London Boroughs of Redbridge, Havering and Barking & Dagenham having recently funded us to deliver a new care recruitment initiative.

 

We are working with care providers in the three boroughs to list their vacancies and opportunities, ranging from full-time work to student placements, on our website. We see this as similar to the NHS Jobs site (though on a smaller scale) – somewhere that candidates can easily see and apply for local opportunities.

We also run regular sessions supporting providers through the recruitment process, and risk assessment workshops to help disproportionately disadvantaged groups to enter the workforce. We have partnered with Grey Matter Learning, a Skills for Care-endorsed training provider, to offer two years’ free training to BHR providers to encourage them to take on new entrants to the sector. As providers, we have agreed to remove the element of competition and turn it into support, recognising that the best candidate is the one who is best suited to the job. For example, if a new hire in a care home seems more suited to a job in homecare, or decides they’d rather take that route, we work together with them and members of CPV to help them secure a job in a homecare service that is looking for a new recruit. This goes all the way down to personality matching, too.

Photo taken at Care Provider Voice Care Recruitment launch at LBR Job Centre, 16 March 22 Left to right Michael Armstrong (Co-Chair, Care Providers’ Voice) & Councillor Kam Rai (Deputy Leader of the Council & Labour Group and Cabinet Member for Finance, Leisure and Culture)

Photo taken at CPV Care Recruitment launch at LBR Job Centre, 16 March 22.  Left to right Michael Armstrong (Co-Chair, Care Providers’ Voice) and Councillor Kam Rai (Deputy Leader of the Council & Labour Group and Cabinet Member for Finance, Leisure and Culture)

From a partner perspective, the BHR employment teams and Job Centre work advisers are signposting candidates to register on our website, and our Job Brokerage Officer is visiting Job Centres in each of the boroughs weekly. We host monthly ‘Inspired to work in care’ virtual sessions that are open to any work adviser to promote the amazing web of opportunity in the care sector and to answer questions. A Care Ambassador from a care service supports the session so that they can both promote their own service and answer practical questions as an employer.

Since the launch of the initiative on 16th March 2022, CPV has had over 800 applications from those wanting to work in the sector. There have been 30 successful placements and 11% of those are new entrants to the sector.

We are also currently working in partnership with the BHR Training Hub to appoint a Nurse Educator Facilitator who will support the apprentice nursing associate (ANA) and registered nurse degree apprenticeship (RNDA) programmes in primary and social care and the expansion of clinical placements. We have also partnered with London Borough of Barking & Dagenham to appoint a Social Care Sector Coordinator who will proactively support the social care sector in BHR.

All of this has only been possible because we have brought together parties with a shared goal. Funding from the local authorities proved that they had trust and confidence in us, because they had seen what we could deliver. And we are confident that it will continue to work, that by putting providers in control, so much more will be achieved.

Anthony Pardoe-Matthews, Head of Service at London Borough of Redbridge, says, ‘One of the benefits and learning from the experience gained during the pandemic, across the local authority and wider, is the need to both recognise and break down some of the barriers that have existed in the past between statutory agencies such as the local authority and providers of care. Ultimately, the forging of relationships that did not previously exist, and the strengthening of those that did, has provided the foundation for greater opportunities to support the health and social care system, and the most significant of these is CPV.

‘CPV was supported through joint funding across Barking, Havering and Redbridge (BHR) councils. The immediate priority is to identify opportunities and engage across all care sectors to support providers with recruitment, retention and succession planning of the workforce. CPV being managed by local providers representing the interests of all sectors leads to more effective use of local authority resources and also promotes a more meaningful engagement with providers, breaking down previous barriers. The aim of both local authorities and providers is aligned to market sustainability and one of the more contentious issues is the cost of care, which is itself impacted upon by issues that affect the workforce. The value of this collaboration has meant that we as local authorities act as facilitators to support CPV to make the most of the opportunities they are able to unlock.

‘The CPV Directors have already demonstrated both the opportunity and value of collaboration across BHR and have opened doors to opportunities for local authorities to support all providers across
the area.’

Succeeding together

 

As it stands, two years after we set out, CPV reaches over 280 providers in North East London through our networks. We engage with two thirds of care providers in Redbridge, Havering and Barking & Dagenham.

CPV is a unique example of how true support and commitment to partnership can make a real change for the health and social care sector. For us, it is important not just to be heard, but to be part of the positive action. Social care is a rich tapestry of ideas and intelligent and interesting people, and we believe that, together, we can help the whole of health and social care succeed.

Photo taken at the Care Provider Voice Photo taken at CPV NEL Networking Event, 21 March 22 Left to right John Timbs (Director, Care Providers’ Voice), Tayvanie Nagendran (Co-Chair, Care Providers’ Voice), Michael Armstrong (Co-Chair, Care Providers’ Voice)

Photo taken at CPV NEL Networking Event, 21 March 22. Left to right John Timbs (Director, Care Providers’ Voice), Tayvanie Nagendran (Co-Chair, Care Providers’ Voice), Michael Armstrong (Co-Chair, Care Providers’ Voice).

Tayvanie Nagendran is Co-Chair at Care Providers’ Voice. Email: hello@cpvnel.co.uk Twitter: @cpvnel

About Tayvanie Nagendran

Tayvanie is the Managing Director of Rochemont Care. She has been the Registered Manager of Cambridge Nursing Home in Wanstead since 2020 and Director since 2003. She sits on several boards and working groups with colleagues from local authorities, CCGs, ICSs and the wider system at borough, tri-borough, North-East London ICS and London level.
Since 2019, she has been a Trustee at Age UK RBH, and a Committee Member at Living with Reflux.
Tayvanie has an Executive MBA from Saïd Business School and a Masters in Public Policy from King’s College London. She is passionate about encouraging new entrants to work in care and showcasing what our amazing sector has to offer.

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