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Inspection carried out on 16 April 2018

During a routine inspection

Helping Hands Plymouth is a domiciliary care agency. It provides personal care to people living in their own homes. It currently provides a service to older adults who need support with their personal care and/or have clinical healthcare needs. The service supports people within a 10 mile radius of Plymouth. The service is owned by Midshires Care Limited, who have 66 branches across the UK.

Not everyone using Helping Hands Plymouth received a regulated activity; CQC only inspects the service being received by people provided with ‘personal care’; help with tasks related to personal hygiene and eating. Where they do we also take into account any wider social care provided. At the time of the inspection there were 34 people receiving personal care.

The inspection was announced and started on 16 April 2018 and ended on 07 May 2018. The provider was given 48 hours' notice because the location provides a domiciliary care service and we needed to be sure that someone would be available in the office. It also allowed us to arrange to visit people receiving a service in their own homes.

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.

The provider had ‘values’ which underpinned staff practice and helped to form a positive culture. The regional manager told us “Our values of understanding, listening, excellence every time, building on success and a focus on people are really important to us”. Throughout our discussions with people and staff, we found these values to be embedded within the culture of the service.

There was a “no blame culture” adopted within the service, encouraging staff to be open and transparent when things had gone wrong, enabling learning to take place. This open and transparent approach demonstrated the providers understanding and recognition of the Duty of Candour. The Duty of Candour means that a service must act in an open and transparent way in relation to care and treatment provided when things go wrong.

Staff, were very much at the heart of the service. The regional manager told us, “We are nothing, without our staff”. Staff spoke positively of the provider’s supportive approach, and told us they felt financially rewarded for the work they did.

The provider welcomed and embraced feedback about their service, giving everyone access to their personal contact details within the staff handbook and service welcome pack.

There were robust systems in place to ensure the effective quality monitoring of the service. The provider’s governance policy set out the expectations of the registered manager to check the quality, of all aspects of the service, periodically. The registered manager also had access to a quality partner, who provided advice, guidance and support to help improve practices. When things went wrong, the provider reflected and used learning to help improve the service.

There was a supportive management structure in place for the registered manager which included regional management, area management and a quality partner.

The provider and registered manager kept up to date with changing practice and legislation. For example they were in the process of updating their consent policy in line with the new General Data Protection (GDP) legislation.

The provider worked in partnership with other agencies, to help ensure ongoing improvement and sustainability. Positive relationships were held with the local authority and commissioning teams.

People told us they felt safe. People were protected from abuse because staff received training in safeguarding, so therefore knew what action to take if they were concerned about someone being abused, mistreated or neglected. S