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We are carrying out checks at Wigan Link. We will publish a report when our check is complete.

Inspection Summary

Overall summary & rating


Updated 15 January 2016

This was an announced inspection carried out on the 07 and 08 September 2015. The inspection was announced so that the manager would be available at the office to facilitate our inspection.

The service was last inspected on 13 August 2013 and at the time was meeting all regulations assessed during the inspection.

Wigan Link, is a local registered charity that provides support services for adults whose primary need for care is due to their learning disability. Support is provided for people, with varying complex needs, who choose to live alone or who share a home with others. Wigan Link provides support to people living in Wigan and Leigh. At the time of this inspection there were 28 people who used the service.

There was a registered manager in post. A registered manager is a person who has registered with the Care Quality Commission to manage the service. Like registered providers, they are ‘registered persons’. Registered persons have legal responsibility for meeting the requirements in the Health and Social Care Act 2008 and associated Regulations about how the service is run.

Wigan Link provides a range of support, from people receiving a few support hours several times a week, to 24 hour support for people in their own home. People live in shared ownership housing, private rented or local authority housing. This means they have tenancy agreements with a landlord and a separate agreement to receive their care and support from Wigan Link. As the housing and care arrangements are entirely separate, people can choose to change their care provider without losing their home.

The registered manager was one of the founders of Wigan Link 15 years ago and it has remained a family led service. Wigan Link demonstrated a strong emphasis on empowering people to voice their opinions and views. The management committee of Wigan Link was made up of people receiving support, parents with sons/daughters described as people with “learning disabilities”, working with other parents, and advisors from the Local and Health Authorities.

People receiving support, relatives and care staff consistently told us that the service was well run and provided positive leadership. There was a strong emphasis on people pursuing full, active lives in their own communities. The registered manager was involved in the local drama group and empowered people receiving support to be involved and engage in activities of their choosing in the community. People receiving support, relatives and staff had a positive and affectionate regard for the registered manager and the management team at Wigan Link.

We looked at how the service managed risk. The registered manager told us the service had developed a person centred approach to risk that was assessed in conjunction with the people who used the service, their families and staff. It was based on listening to what was important to people. We found individual risks had been completed for each person and recorded in their guidelines. The guidelines were reviewed and updated when there was a change in risk.

We looked at 10 personnel files and found people were protected against the risks of abuse because the service had robust recruitment procedures in place. We found appropriate criminal records bureau (CRB) disclosures or Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) checks had been undertaken and appropriate references obtained before new staff commenced employment with the service.

We looked at how the service ensured there were sufficient numbers of staff to meet people’s needs and keep them safe. We looked at the staff rotas. We found the service had sufficient skilled staff to meet people's needs. People receiving support and staff told us any shortfalls, due to sickness or leave, were covered by existing staff which enabled continuity of service and ensured people were looked after by staff who knew them.

People receiving support were involved in recruitment and we found that all new members of staff underwent a comprehensive induction programme, which was designed to welcome them to the service and support them during the probationary period. We reviewed training records, which were up to date and included refresher training courses to enable staff to develop their skills and knowledge. Care staff confirmed they received regular supervision and appraisals, which we verified by looking at staff personnel records.

We considered the Mental Capacity Act (MCA), Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DoLS) and obtaining consent from people. We saw that the service had been involved with the Local Authority undertaking mental capacity assessments. There was nobody in service subject to DoLs and although staff had not attended training around the Mental Capacity Act they demonstrated a good understanding of obtaining consent and best interest decisions.

The feedback we received from people was positive. Those people who used the service expressed great satisfaction and spoke highly of the registered manager and staff.

We asked people and their relatives how they felt about the caring approach of the staff. Without exception, people and relatives praised the staff for their caring and professional approach. One relative said, “We call them the A team, I can’t fault them. They’re always on time. Very regular. All work as a team. They take care for the person and they are also friends.”

People were at the heart of the service, which was organised to suit their individual needs and aspirations. People’s achievements were celebrated and their views were sought and acted on. People were supported by staff that were compassionate and treated them with dignity and respect. We spoke with five people receiving support from Wigan Link and nine relatives. Without exception, people who used the service and their relatives were complimentary and positive about the staff that supported them.

People were active members of their local community and led busy and fulfilling lives. There was evidence of positive outcomes for people, and that people had pursued new opportunities, progressed over time, gained new skills and increased their independence. People were enabled through positive risk taking, to challenge themselves to achieve and fulfil their ambitions. One relative told us, “The essential lifestyle plan captured our hopes, dreams and fears. How we wanted support to be. This is updated and tested regularly.”

People told us that the service had made a real difference to people’s lives. Three people we spoke with told us their relatives were living better lives than previously; they were doing more and becoming more independent. Three people told us their relative had previously lived at home leading a protected life and not going out much. They had nothing but praise for the service in enhancing their relative’s lives.

People told us the service engaged consistently and meaningfully with families. The nine relatives that we spoke with reported feeling involved and being part of an extended family. They reported the service to be responsive, open and transparent and feeling actively involved in all aspects of care. A member of staff told us, “Everything is flexible and responsive; it’s down to us having a good knowledge, information and understanding of the person.”

Inspection areas



Updated 15 January 2016

The service was safe. People were protected from harm. People had confidence in the service and told us they felt safe.

There were safe and robust recruitment procedures in place.

Management and staff had a good understanding of what constituted abuse and were able to describe the action they would take if they witnessed or

suspected abuse or neglectful practice.

People’s medicines were managed safely by staff who had received appropriate training.



Updated 15 January 2016

The service was effective. We found all new members of staff underwent a comprehensive induction programme.

We looked at supervision and staff training records and spoke with staff about the training and supervision received

The service was meeting the requirements of the Mental Capacity Act 2005 (MCA) and Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DoLS) and people were able to make safe choices and decisions about their lives.

People were involved in discussions, decisions and relevant training about their health needs and lifestyle choices and were supported to reach their goals.



Updated 15 January 2016

The service was caring. Without exception, people and relatives praised the staff for their caring and professional approach.

People and staff had high expectations of what people could achieve and achievements were celebrated.

People and relatives told us they were involved in making decisions about their care and were listened to by the service. They told us they had been involved in determining the care they needed and had been consulted and involved in their care.



Updated 15 January 2016

The service was responsive.

People told us the service engaged consistently and meaningfully with them and their families.

People’s care was based around their individual needs and aspirations. The service had creative ways of ensuring people led fulfilling lives. People were supported to make choices and have control of their lives.

People were consulted and involved in the running of the service, their views were sought and acted on. People were encouraged to make friends, learn new skills and be involved in their local community.



Updated 15 January 2016

The service was well led by an open and approachable team.

The management group was made up of parents, sons/daughters.

We found the service promoted an open culture, was person centred, inclusive, open and transparent. As part of the recruitment policy, people who used the service and families were able to participate in the interview process to determine the suitability of new staff.