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Inspection carried out on 12 April 2017

During a routine inspection

Darwin Community Support provides supported living services to people with learning disabilities in their own homes. At the time of our inspection twenty three people were receiving personal care services from the staff team who worked for the agency. Support packages varied from 24 hour support 7 days a week, to supporting people for a few hours to access leisure activities.

The inspection of this service took place on 12 and 13 April 2017 and was announced.

There was a registered manager in post and they were present at the time of the inspection. A registered manager is a person who has registered with the Care Quality Commission to manage the service. Like registered providers, registered managers 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.

People had been involved in identifying and assessing hazards and risks associated with providing their support. However, we found that some known risks had not always been managed safely to protect people from harm.

Risks had not always been properly assessed and guidance that had been put in place to protect staff was, on occasion, ineffective. In addition, staff did not always have the skills or back up to offer safe support.

Staffing issues had created challenges for the agency and at times had compromised people’s safety. Overall, people felt that staffing levels were improving although some people were not receiving consistent support from a dedicated team who knew them well. This meant that the quality of care was compromised.

People were not always protected against the risks associated with medicines because staff were not always confident to manage processes safely. Policies, procedures and training required improvement to reflect the domiciliary type service provided.

People were supported by staff who knew how to keep them safe and free from abuse. Staff knew how to recognise and report concerns, problems or signs of potential abuse. The registered manager and staff team worked effectively with outside agencies to keep people safe when required.

People were supported by staff who had the basic knowledge and skills to provide effective support and further training about specialist conditions is being arranged. The registered manager was actively reviewing this issue and addressing this shortfall. Staff were recruited through safe recruitment practices meaning that only people suitable to work in the role were appointed.

People’s rights were protected under the Mental Capacity Act 2005 and people were supported to make choices in relation to the care and support they received. Staff respected people’s decisions and they supported people to ensure decisions made were in the person’s best interests.

People received the appropriate amount of support to enable them to enjoy a varied and balanced diet. People’s independence was promoted and staff worked with healthcare professionals to promote people’s good health.

People were supported by staff who were caring and kind. People were listened to and consulted making them feel involved and in control of their care and support. People told us they were supported to remain as independent as possible and staff respected people’s privacy and dignity.

People received a responsive service that reflected their individual needs and wishes. Staff were knowledgeable about people’s support requirements and could offer flexible support as people’s needs changed. People remained at the heart of the service provided. Care plans reflected individualised support packages that focussed on meeting people’s assessed needs and their aspirations for the future.

People knew how to raise concerns and felt confident that the registered manager would listen to them. Relatives had mixed experiences of complaints effecting change although they all thought the investigation process was thorough

Inspection carried out on 5 May 2015

During a routine inspection

The inspection was announced and took place on 5 May 2015. The registered manager had short notice that an inspection would take place so we could ensure they would be available to assist with the inspection. At the last inspection carried out in May 2013, we found the provider was meeting all of the regulations we reviewed.

Darwin Community Support provides care and support to people with a learning disability living in their own home or with their relatives. At the time of the inspection 10 people were using the service.

There was a registered manager in post at the time of our inspection. 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.

People who used the service were positive about the service they experienced. They told us they felt safe with the staff that supported them. One relative shared a concern in relation to an incident that potentially placed their family member at risk of harm. The registered manager took the appropriate action when they became aware of the concerns in order to help protect the person from the risk of harm. Staff had received training in protecting people from harm and knew what action to take if they had any concerns about potential abuse. Risk assessments were carried out so that risks to people were minimised while still supporting people to remain independent.

People told us there were sufficient numbers of staff available to provide them or their relatives with the support they needed at a time that suited them. We were told support staff usually arrived on time and stayed the agreed time. People were supported with the management of their medicines and their health and dietary needs to support their well-being.

Staff told us they were received training that gave them the skills and knowledge they needed to support people effectively. They said they were well supported in their work and had regular meetings with their line manager and team meetings. Staff knew how to support people’s rights and shared examples of how they respected people's choices, dignity and independence.

People’s needs were assessed and plans were in place to meet their needs. People told us they were involved in their house meetings and discussions about their care requirements. They said they felt listened to by the staff and managers and knew who to speak with if they had any concerns. People described staff as kind and friendly and said they were treated with respect. People had developed positive relationships with their support workers and the management team.

People who used the service, relatives and staff told us they found managers open and approachable and considered the service was well-led. We saw there were systems in place to gain people’s views and monitor the quality of the service people received.

Inspection carried out on 16 May 2013

During a routine inspection

We found that people's privacy, dignity and independence were respected. People's views and experiences were taken into account in the way the service was provided and delivered in relation to their care.

People experienced care, treatment and support that met their needs and protected their rights. One person who used the service said, “They look after me well.” Another person said, “I get on well with all my carers, I like them.”

We found that people who used the service were protected from the risk of abuse, because the provider had taken reasonable steps to identify potential abuse and acted appropriately.

People were cared for by staff who were supported to deliver care and treatment safely and to an appropriate standard. The staff members we spoke with said that they felt supported.

We found that the provider had an effective system to regularly assess and monitor the quality of service that people receive. The provider had an effective system in place to identify, assess and manage risks to the health, safety and welfare of people who use the service and others.

Inspection carried out on 5 November 2012

During a routine inspection

People told us that they were very pleased with the service they received. One person told us, "It's going well" and, I'm very happy with everything". Another person told us that the service was, "Brilliant", and that they hoped the staff would, "Keep up the good work".

People told us that their views were listened to and respected. The provider held regular group meetings for the people it supported.

We found that care plans were written in a way that focussed on people’s abilities and emphasised the importance of encouraging independence. We saw that people had independence milestones and that staff were working with people to achieve them.

We saw staff treating a distressed person with sensitivity and tact. People told us that staff were always respectful. We found that care plans contained all the information staff required to deliver the care people needed.

We found that the provider had a comprehensive safeguarding policy in place. Staff were familiar with the policy.

We also found that appropriate checks were properly carried out on staff before they were allowed to start work.