Is Social Media a Fair Way to Monitor Performance?

Apparently, social media will provide 'anecdotal evidence' of poor performance that could trigger assessment activity according to a BBC news item reporting that the CQC intend to monitor social media

Social media has a place in the world but surely it is not the place to garner substantive, factual feedback on which to manage business performance? A business can use it as part of a feedback mechanism for their business where they can have a degree of control over access and can moderate posts. But there are too  many examples of bogus postings, and malicious postings, where people can hide behind anonymity. 

The Local Government Ombudsman's recent annual review of care makes the point that providers should be using good feedback measures, should be encouraging feedback, complaints and all as mechanisms for learning. Surely CQC should be supporting this approach and not encouraging complaints via social media? 

Your thoughts?

Love Your Complaints

2014 - 2015 saw an 18% increase in the number of complaints to the Local Government Ombudsman about social care*. Horror!! Or is it?

Complaints are an opportunity to learn; they are an essential part of a feedback mechanism, so an increase could be indicative of improved feedback mechanisms rather than deteriorating service. The Ombudsman reports that 37% of complaints were referred directly back to the providers or commissioners because they hadn't had an opportunity to respond.

According to the Ombudsman, the learning points for the industry are:

  1. Tell your stakeholders how to raise a concern.
  2. Have an open and transparent, simple, clear complaints procedure, with stages and timescales for response.
  3. Tell your stakeholders where and how they can get redress; signpost them to the Local Government Ombudsman.
  4. Have an open door approach: if a complaint comes to you, even if it isn't your fault or your domain, deal with it. Contact the relevant people and try to coordinate a response; don't leave the end user trying to navigate a complex maze of multi agency support.

What is your complaints procedure? Feedback  mechanisms are our business; for help with managing stakeholder feedback, contact us on barbara.harris@care2improve.co.uk 

*LGO Annual Review of Adult Social Care Complaints, published November 2015. Reported in CMM Dec 2015.

After Panorama

Where does social care go now after the latest in a long line of Panorama exposes of failure?

Everyone in our sector must have viewed the Panorama programme “Elderly Care Exposed” with a sickening sense of “Oh no, not yet another scandal in social care”.  The build-up in advance of screening of the programme; the shameful scenes of deliberate abuse of older people; suspension and dismissals of junior staff, followed by grovelling public statements by the management of the care home as an exercise in damage limitation saying it’s not all bad.  Andrea Sutcliffe of CQC publicly expressing her anger over new revelations of failure of care on her watch.

We all know the script of these scandals too well by now.

The worst aspect of the whole sorry story is that it did not come to light as a result of the efforts of management of the care home or from a CQC inspection, but by external undercover reporting. Clearly the staff or relatives had concerns. They tipped off the BBC, who carefully planted their reporter – working in the guise of a junior carer at the home – to film the alleged failures and publish the truth.

This episode is a double failure in my view.  Failure of care, no question about it; but equally bad is the non-existence or failure of feedback channels that could allow staff or relatives to speak the truth to management.  It seems clear that people knew what was going on but could not speak out.  How much better if management of The Old Deanery care home were using a confidential, anonymous survey system like Care2Improve.

The truth is something we can’t tell ourselves. To get at the truth we need to listen to someone else.  Good management includes seeking out and listening to feedback.

The irony of course is that the vast bulk of all social care is the exact opposite of the shameful scenes we witnessed on Panorama.  In thousands of care settings all across the country, we know that countless big and small acts of kindness, humour and generosity take place every day. That is the reality of care that we see from doing Care2Improve surveys for care homes and dom care providers.

No, care providers are not perfect; yes, there is always room for improvement; but most care providers who we see we can confidently say are high-quality providers striving to improve.

Peter Weeks


Can we trust care feedback sites?

Trip Advisor for care services.  What could be more useful?

Good Burrito, bad burrito, free burrito

Good Burrito, bad burrito, free burrito

I bought a burrito at a Mexican takeaway in Bristol yesterday.  At the checkout I was given a card asking me to give them a good rating on various social media and feedback sites. All laid out for me where to post my feedback, what to say and do on each site, all in return for a free meal on my next visit.

Can you trust my opinion on Facebook when the deal is that I rate my burrito I had yesterday in return for a free meal?  I don’t think so.  Once the marketing people get involved the idea of independent assessment goes out of the window.

What if I spend a night in a hotel and leave a poor review?  Can the hotel to respond to my review in an attempt to justify things, or point out the unusual circumstances, or make clear the stupidity of my comments?  Am I a reasonable customer or one of those impossible to please people?

Of course a care provider will seldom think that criticism from CQC is deserved, but unrealistic providers will complain about every comment or black cross awarded by CQC.

Feedback sites and reviews/reports are worthless as comparison tools if they are not consistent and standardised. e.g. no good having a crackdown on equality one week and the effectiveness of medication systems the next.

If you want the truth it has to be independent.