Calling all Social Care Providers

Valued Care Solutions has new and improved quality assurance and governance services available for all providers of care and supports across the Social Care market in 2017.

Following an in-depth look into the Care Quality Commission’s (CQC) ambitious vision Shaping the future: CQC’s strategy for 2016 to 2021’, and understanding through experience the position of many providers of Social Care, I have set about developing a quality assurance programme and governance system. This programme and system is developed in order for you as a provider in the Social Care market to accurately and positively record, document and highlight quality within the services you provide, in a way that can integrate into your annual business planning, and be given straight to a regulating professional when needed.

Within ‘Priority 3 Promote a single shared view of quality’ the CQC have indicated that they will be looking for providers of service to develop their own quality assurance systems in order to show their quality in compliance with the regulation standards:

“We will encourage providers to develop their own quality assurance based on the five key questions and to share this with us as part of an ongoing conversation about quality”

This is where VCS can support you and your organisation. Whether you are a residential or nursing home, community or domiciliary service, day service, ambulance service or any type of CQC registered provider, I have several different ranges of quality assurance systems and guidance available. These include, but are not limited to:

Monthly Visits – A visit made to site to meet with management and assess whether the service meets each of CQC’s 13 ‘Fundamental Standards’ of quality within the regulations. One standard looked at each month.

Quarter or Half Yearly Visits – A site visit every 3 or 6 months to complete a comprehensive audit of overall delivery of service, shaped by the ‘Five Key Questions’

Annual Visit – A site visit once a year to complete a whole home audit similar to a mock inspection to ensure that quality assurance systems and practices in place are compliant with regulation standards.

What I can offer to you and your organisation is a personally tailored quality assurance programme that will complement your existing internal systems whilst ensuring continuous improvement to meet regulation compliance at all times.

Please feel free to get in touch for a no obligation meet-up or chat about your organisation’s requirements.

I look forward to hearing from you soon,
Stephen Briscoe ACMI

Contact – Details via website



2016 A Year in Review

As a thank you to myself and to ensure that 2017 gets off to the running start 2016 did I gave myself the opportunity to take a couple of weeks off during the Christmas and New Year period to enjoy quality family time and completely switch off from my world of Valued Care Solutions.

As a result this blog post on ‘2016 A Year in Review’ is being written on my official return to working 03/01/2017 – “better late than never” as the saying goes.

So what can I say about 2016 for Valued Care Solutions and myself well the first thing I can say is a huge “THANK YOU”

THANK YOU to all my clients who have trusted me to support them in their own businesses to start out in the business world, to grow their quality service provisions and to review their services in a manner that not only meets regulations and requirements but also looks at the impact on the individual receiving the service – THANK YOU ALL! here’s to an amazing 2017 together.

THANK YOU also has to go to my amazing wife and children, without them VCS would not be possible. They give me the strength, support and positivity, alongside the laughter and smiles to always make me see that what I and VCS do, adds real value to all across the health and social care sector – THANK YOU I am truly blessed and you are amazing 🙂

So to the ‘2016 A Year in Review’ in detail. I could go on and on with different elements that where achieved over last year however that may run into a very long post that not everyone would want to read so I will keep it brief and pick out my Top 3 achievements of 2016 in a ‘Tops of the Pops’ style – you can hear the music in the background now can’t you 🙂

A New Entry at Number 3 – Challenging a CQC report on a client’s home that was totally factually incorrect and made the home drop into ‘Requires Improvement’. After working with the home for a number of months previous to the CQC regulation visit I knew that the home, although not perfect, was of a very good standard and met all the standard requirements set out by the CQC. So it was with some distress that I was contacted by the homes owner who told me they had been given ‘Requires Improvement’ and had breached in one area. After reading the report it was clear that the information contained in the report was not accurate and indeed the information discussed was not directly relating to any resident that the home supported. Long story short I was able to work with the home to clearly set out reasons for challenging the report on grounds of inaccuracy which where upheld and changed by CQC prior to being in the public domain whereby the home was given a Green ‘GOOD’ overall rating – Excellent achievement all round!

A Non-Mover at Number 2 – My continued support of the Alzheimer’s Society Dementia Friends initiative across the country. I am a designated Dementia Friends Champion and as a result I was able to deliver as a volunteer to 35 new people the Dementia Friends sessions that have made them part of our Dementia Friends community – One of my favourite achievements of 2016

2017 – I am looking to continue this volunteer service throughout the year so any people or businesses reading this post and interested in having a session (its free of charge, only takes an hour, hour and half max – maybe just throw in some refreshments for people) then please get in touch I would love to deliver the session for you and make as many Dementia Friends as we can 🙂

And straight in at Number 1 – My 2 nominations for FSB Merseyside and Cheshire Awards for Valued Care Solutions. VCS was shortlisted for 2 awards on the night however although no winning accolade was forthcoming this is, in the 5 years of business, my 1st nomination for an award in business and as a result in recognition of VCS – This is my most proudest of achievements in 2016

So to 2017 may it hold the same positivity and achievements to rival 2016 and lets make it even better!!!

I wish you all the very best for the year ahead. I hope it fulfils all your widest expectations and for those who may hit a bump in the road, I send you the support, strength and guidance to overcome any challenge that steps in your way.

Let’s do this people. Thank you for reading and remember “With hope and belief there are no limitations” – Till next time, Stephen

Compassionate Care?

Today I was posed this question for an answer…….

“What is compassionate care?”

The person in question themselves had been asked this question by someone looking at their service supports and was taken aback to find themselves struggling for an immediate answer.

At first I too somewhat chuckled at the request thinking how long have you got for me to answer that one and then I looked again at the person who had posed the question.

Again I was asked with a slight smile this time…….

“What is compassionate care? I’d like to know your take in less than 2 sentences”

Wow in less than 2 sentences you say 🙂 – anybody that knows me will attest to 2 sentences being a slight issue to a conversationalist like myself.

So this time I stopped, concentrated on the question at hand and responded as follows……

“Compassionate care to me is fully respecting another person to see them as an individual and not as a practice or a condition. In doing this I feel it leads to care that is compassionate and reflects the unique individual’s needs to having positive well-being.”

Wow again that was hard I followed it up with, I can see where you found it difficult to immediately respond…..

So that dear reader is my question to you in view of this post. In as short a way as possible let me know:

“To you, what is compassionate care?”

I look forward to reading your comments and feel free to contact to discuss these thoughts more,

Take care and remember “With hope and belief there are no limitations”



What is a Quality, ‘Quality Assurance’ for Care Providers?

The CQC recently launched its new five year vision “Shaping the future CQC’s strategy for 2016 to 2021” which sets out the main priorities and objectives into how “…an ambitious vision for a more targeted, responsive and collaborative approach to regulation, so more people get high-quality care” can be achieved.

Now as a care provider or someone involved in the care sector reading this, I strongly recommend grabbing a brew and taking the time to read through carefully. CQC’s aims set out in this strategy cover many valuable points for consideration in order for you to attain a quality level of delivery compliant with regulation requirements.

However for the focus of this post I would like to concentrate on one area and key detail that was noted in reading this document.

Within “Priority 3 – Promote a single shared view of quality” CQC have detailed the following:

“We will encourage providers to develop their own quality assurance based on the five key questions and to share this with us as part of an ongoing conversation about quality.”

This detail effectively gives you as a provider the empowerment to create and develop a tailored quality assurance system that can clearly identify and evidence how your service meets and achieves those requirements of the five key question areas.

In addition this encouragement provides a service the opportunity not only to develop a quality assurance system that meets the regulatory requirements but also affords the service.

So in answer to my posts original question: What is a Quality, ‘Quality Assurance’ for Care Providers?

My answer is: Providers need to have a quality assurance system that not only achieves compliance with statutory regulatory bodies but also links to and highlights directly, visible evidence of how the system supports and has supported, quality outcomes and improvements in health and well-being for the people receiving and the staff delivering your supports.

Now as a business adviser in this area I have to comment there are several ‘Quality Assurance’ systems available currently on the market, all of which I am sure you will be able to find via a reputable internet search engine.

However one of my main principles in establishing Valued Care Solutions was to be a supportive beacon to care providers across the sector. A positive support to those providers who, acknowledging their responsibilities in achieving requirements from regulatory bodies, were left with a feeling of who or where do we turn to in the support of focused guidance.

As a result of the above Valued Care Solutions has various schedules of quality assurance that can be utilised and further developed to ensure your service is reaching and achieving these highlighted requirements whilst also receiving *Outstanding* acknowledgement in this area of quality service delivery.

Please feel free to contact to further discuss quality assurance and its requirements alongside how Valued Care Solutions can work with your service to bespoke a schedule to positively highlight your delivery of support services.

Contact for a no obligation chat – Link to contact

Thank you for taking the time to read,

Stephen Briscoe Valued Care Solutions

Forget the tick box just do

I’ll start this post off with one of, if not the, most discussed area I chat with care homes about and that sounds like this –

“We want to do lots of positive different things for our residents and staff all the time but I don’t know how do we’d be able to show that to CQC when they come visit our home”

After hearing this discussion, in several slightly different formats but ultimately with same end result, it got me thinking……

Why where managers and owners unconsciously saying we’re not going to do that positive thing for our service as I can’t put that on paper or in a box to be ticked to say I’m compliant when CQC and/or outside professionals come to look at the home.

So I started to think some more around how that might of happened……..

I have felt Health services for long time now been channelled, in that you have to fit certain criteria in order for you to receive treatments and/or pay privately for those same treatments to be delivered: only just read in the news this morning – Postcode Lottery

This then leads to a decision making bias of process in what can and can’t be delivered and in what conditions will or won’t be supported by health services. As a result of this decision bias, a systematic process which creates benchmarks and tick box led required documentation to show that those decisions are having an impact is naturally brought in – target based models.

Social Care has followed a similar target model in recent years – only people who can pay or meet the rigid decision bias criteria of care supports get it. So again as in health the end result is we must process these people through regulations and documentation to show that we are doing a good thing and/or we give power to decision makers to challenge those who are not ticking their boxes in meeting the decided set out criteria.

So getting back to the original point does that mean if what we do can’t fit it into one of those decided criteria tick boxes we should not do it or feel that we as a service could be penalised for not shoehorning it into a tick box – absolutely not – not everyone’s choice in what they wish will fit neatly into a box and why should it – we should do more of it and then some more!!! (Revolution here we come 🙂 )

Bear with me here, take the word Innovation – definition – (OED) – A new method, idea, product, etc. To me someone experiencing innovation has come to mean “wow I have found someone or something doing or delivering something that is different and you know what it’s amazing and its work – we must have it!”

Ok a little tongue in cheek at the end maybe but this is now how I base my answer to the original question and get care homes to look at things slightly differently:

Original –We want to do lots of positive different things for our residents and staff all the time”

Slight tweak  – “We are doing lots of positive different things with our residents and staff all of the time that we can’t always capture but you know what that’s ok”

Original – “I don’t know how do we’d be able to show that to CQC/professionals when they come visit our home

Slight tweak“Our resident’s and staffs positive well-being really shows here and we are achieving great things”

Let’s lead the revolution one tweak at a time and let’s stop thinking about how something that means something to someone needs to fit in the tick-box for compliance and let’s as Nike very eloquently put “Just do it”.


Till next time, take care all and remember “With hope and belief there are no limitations”

Stephen 🙂

Inspirational Tedx Liverpool

I had the privilege and honour yesterday to be one of the over 800 Tedsters that attended the TedXLiverpool 2016 talks.

What I experienced yesterday far outdid my expectations and has somewhat left me feeling like the Duracell Bunny this morning

taken from

The day delivered by the TedxLiverpool organisers and volunteers was amazing and truly inspiring (I seem to be using that word a lot following my attendance).

What I also experienced sat there listening to all the different speakers and musicians was a palpable feeling of excitement and engagement from within everybody around me.

800 Tedsters had come together to listen and it was amazing to feel and listen to the energy and creativity that was a buzz around the venue.

So dear reader I put to you if you have the chance to attend your own Tedx event please jump at the chance and if you haven’t already found TED then take a look, some of the media outlets I use are:

Finally my takeaway from yesterday is a new focused mantra of

“Challenge, Create, Change and focus to follow your passions”

and now my first challenge is to harness this excited “Duracell Bunny” feeling and focus the life and work ahead.

Thank you for reading and remember

“With hope and belief there are no limitations”


Would you want to be called a “Service User”?

I have taken to writing this post following interaction with the Guardian Social’s news piece on “Want to modernise mental health policy? Listen to service users” LINK

Now it is an interesting piece on its own and well worth a read however it was following the below tweet that got me engaged in interacting with the debate being had

In that tweet as you can see it says:

“Am I the only one that really hates the term service user?”

In a very short answer NO YOU ARE NOT!

It was one of the first things I made sure I changed when I left my local authority job several years ago as I hated (and I don’t use that word often) the label attached to the statement of “Service User”.

People who are in need of care and/or support are not service users, they are not numbers they are people plain and simple. The ‘Service User’ tag for me made it easy for leaders of services to tag numbers and build services for users to fit into as opposed to focusing on people and building services that can support (the right way). Furthermore being person centred, where health and social care should be striving to achieve, is to see the person not a condition/illness and as a result for me “service user” loses the main focus of seeing the person.

I also had a tweet following my post on Twitter from @CarolineLyall1 read:

“I always say client… Is this old fashioned?”

My reply was simple:

“I wouldn’t say old fashioned per se using individual/person ensures focus is on person not the service IMO”

Again I wouldn’t say client was wrong for someone who is working business to business however for me where care and support is involved it will now and forever will be:

“Individual and/or Person”

That way I will always see the person in front of me and ensure that the supports and care delivered meet that individuals need.

It was interesting to get a reply from the person who tweeted that read:

“Hummm, interesting. Thank you, I will definitely consider this”

I thank you for reading and please would love to hear your thoughts on the use of “Service User” and our other labels in social care.

Take Care and remember

“With hope and belief there are no limitations”