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Inspection Summary


Overall summary & rating

Outstanding

Updated 31 May 2017

Equal Partnerships is a domiciliary care and supported living service based in Longbenton, Newcastle. The service provides personal care and support to people living in their own homes, who have a learning disability and/or autism spectrum disorder. Some people also have a sensory impairment. At the time of our inspection 19 people received care from the service.

At our last inspection in July and August 2014, the service was rated as ‘Outstanding'. At this inspection we found the service remained ‘Outstanding' and all the fundamental standards we inspected against were met.

This inspection took place on the 22 and 23 March 2017 and was announced. The inspection was carried out by one inspector.

Under this provider's registration with the Commission there is a requirement that a registered manager needs to be in post to manage the carrying on of the regulated activity at this location. One of the providers and owners of the company had taken on this role and they had been registered with the Commission as the registered manager of the service since December 2010. 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. The other provider had assumed the position of nominated individual for the service as required by their registration with the Commission.

People's safety was paramount. Risks were appropriately assessed and managed. The service actively promoted positive risk taking so that people could live fulfilling lives, that were as independent as possible, whilst still remaining safe. People had been supported to travel independently within the community and arrangements were in place for staff to oversee that they did so safely. Staff had developed positive and meaningful relationships with people and encouraged them to overcome challenges and risks to achieve their goals.

People were encouraged and supported to manage risks within their own home environments. Regular checks on fire safety equipment and utilities were carried out, and servicing undertaken where necessary in line with best practice guidelines.

Safeguarding policies and procedures were in place to aid and guide staff about how to protect people from different forms of harm and abuse. Staff were fully aware of their personal responsibilities to safeguard vulnerable people in their care and they had no hesitation in reporting concerns. Any historic issues that had come to light had been dealt with appropriately and measures put in place to monitor and highlight any future concerns. The providers promoted an open culture and staff told us that any safety concerns raised at any time were dealt with very promptly by the providers.

Staffing levels were decided by people's needs, how they lived their lives and what support they therefore needed. Staff were structured in small teams supporting any number of individuals who lived in their own accommodations settings, some people shared houses, some people lived alone. Each staff team reported to a manager. All gaps in staffing for example, due to annual leave and sickness, were covered internally by other members of staff within the service.

The recruitment of staff was robust and appropriate vetting checks were in place to ensure that potential new staff were of suitable character to work with vulnerable people. People were actively involved in the recruitment process, as were their relatives. They drafted job adverts together with the providers and also interviewed potential new staff. Staff were appropriately inducted, trained, supervised, appraised and given opportunities for development. The providers told us they felt strongly that staff needed to be supported as much as people, so that they could give the best care a

Inspection areas

Safe

Outstanding

Updated 31 May 2017

The service remains 'Outstanding' in this domain.

Effective

Good

Updated 31 May 2017

The service remains 'Good' in this domain.

Caring

Outstanding

Updated 31 May 2017

The service was extremely caring.

There was a positive and vibrant culture throughout the service which emanated from the providers themselves. People, relatives and staff gave extremely positive feedback about the caring approach of staff and the providers.

Staff were highly motivated and had developed deep meaningful, but professional relationships with the people they supported.

People were actively encouraged and supported to maintain relationships with family and friends.

Staff were exceptional at supporting people to become as independent as possible.

Privacy and dignity was respected, protected and promoted throughout the service at all levels.

The providers and all staff advocated on people's behalf whenever necessary and this approach was evident throughout all elements of the service.

Responsive

Outstanding

Updated 31 May 2017

The service remains 'Outstanding' in this domain.

Well-led

Outstanding

Updated 31 May 2017

The service was extremely well led.

We received excellent feedback about the providers both as individual people and their leadership skills and style.

People were at the heart of the service and the providers ethos, visions and values.

Auditing and oversight of the service was carried out by managers of each house and overall via personal visits by the providers themselves.

Meetings were held to monitor the service, share ideas and any issues and these were overseen by the providers.

Staff were appropriately supported and their competencies regularly monitored and reviewed.

The registration requirements of the service were met.