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Help to improve services for people with learning disabilities, says Sarah Maguire

Health and social care providers are being invited to make a public commitment to making sure that the kind of abuse that happened at Winterbourne View never happens again.

They can do this by signing up the Driving up Quality code and by helping to create a culture of openness and transparency.

This is needed if organisations are to flourish and poor providers are to be driven out of the sector.

The Driving up Quality code, which was developed by a steering group chaired by the Housing and Support Alliance, is part of the Winterbourne View Concordat.

The code is unique as it was developed by the voluntary, independent and statutory sectors in consultation with people who use services, their families as well as the Care Quality Commission and commissioners.

Once we all sat together and put aside our traditional squabbles and prejudices, it was clear there was a real desire to listen to the people we support and a commitment to  build lives that have meaning.

The code has five simple aims, which are to:

  • drive up quality in services for people with learning disabilities
  • create and build a passion in the learning disability sector to provide high quality, values-led services
  • provide a clear message to the sector and the wider population about what is and what is not acceptable practice
  • promote a culture of openness and honesty in organisations
  • promote the celebration and sharing of the good work that is already out there

The code is voluntary and that was deliberate. We already have plenty of statutory and regulatory ‘assessment’ and yet still see case after case of abuse and poor practice.

This code is about  self-assessment and wanting to commit time and resources to come together and reflect on how we work.

The code is not about being told what to do by government, commissioners or regulators – it is about providers wanting to listen, learn and share their stories about what makes good support.

Visit Driving up quality or email Kate Newrick at:

  • Sarah Maguire is director of quality, Choice Support


Frontline Staff

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