ARC England hosts virtual visits to members’ services for the Department of Health and Social Care

On May 12th 2021 ARC England and a representative cross-section of our members hosted a Virtual Visit to share with colleagues from DHSC and CQC what life is like within their services and how Covid has impacted people using those services, their families and staff. Members also took the opportunity to feed back to DHSC on the challenges and concerns faced by the learning disability adult social care sector.

We wanted to share some of the Virtual Visit content created by our member organisations illustrating the incredible work they do and the significant challenges they face in providing first-class care for people with learning disabilities, autism or both.

Introduction: Clive Parry, ARC England

1.1  Consistency and regulation

Alison Hall, Operations Director, Reach Learning Disability, and Becky Hamilton, Manager, Windward Day Services, spoke about consistency and regulation in their services. (Video clip to follow).

Becky then introduced this video about the staff and people supported by Windward Day Services:

1.2  The importance of good guidance
Tracey Forman, Principal, Homefield College spoke about the importance to providers of clear, timely guidance in managing all aspects of a service, especially during the Covid pandemic.


1.3  One size does not fit all: the diversity of social care settings

Mercy Ofori-Kugaru, Manager at Three Cs, and Liz Salmon, Head of Quality and Co-Production, Livability, spoke about the range of adult social care settings – care homes, supported living, day services, domiciliary care, and so on – and the challenges of making sure guidance is accurate and helpful in all situations. (Video clip to follow).


2.1 Providing the right support: Moving on from Transforming Care

Laura Selby, Director (Adult Services), MacIntyre and Dave Barras, CEO, Positive Support For You, spoke about the challenges of providing the right support and moving on from the Department of Health’s Transforming Care response to the Winterbourne View scandal.

Laura introduced Sam’s Journey, a video by MacIntyre showing the amazing progress of a young man in their care through implementing the principles of Active Support:


2.2 Choice and cohesion

Sarah Mahoney, Links South West, spoke about:

  • Geographical location of services
  • The need for diversity
  • Right Support, Right Care, Right Culture CQC’s policy guidance
  • Real choices for people with learning disabilities and autism
  • The Transforming Care Agenda and service development

Sarah showed Links’ video about Sam and his 1:1 support worker Dave at their ‘Links to the Earth outdoor project:


2.3 Funding support: Choice, control, agency and consistency

Alison Hall, Operations Director at Reach Learning Disability spoke about how the right funding models support choice, control , agency and consistency in supporting people with learning disabilities, autism or both.

Watch ‘Our Stories’ videos on the Reach website >


3. Workforce: Wellbeing, staff retention and parity of esteem with the NHS

Desiree Maclennan, Real Life Options, spoke about:

  • Demographics and the future of social care
  • Workforce planning and the challenges ahead
  • Workforce wellbeing and staff retention
  • Professionalising care services and parity of esteem with NHS

… and then introduced this video from Real Life Options Support Worker Natalie Whyte talking about her work during the pandemic and why you should give support workers a smile.

4. Policy and funding reform

Steve Cox, CEO of Perthyn, spoke about the impact of current Government and local authority policies and funding models and the urgent need for reform of these areas in adult social care. (Video clip to follow).


5. Conclusion Clive Parry, ARC England Director

Clive summed up the contributions from ARC England’s members to this Virtual Visits session and our hopes for continued close working links with colleagues in DHSC and CQC and the need for social care sector reform.