When it comes to recruiting new staff, a care group is championing the ongoing involvement of people who use its services in the decision-making process.
Regard invites the people they support to sit in on face to face job interviews for staff vacancies as part of a process to identify the best candidate for the role.
Along with care users, the service has put together a set of questions and illustrations as pointers as to the kind of questions they might want to ask.
At Beudygwyn Farm residential service near Anglesey, Brian Williams, 56, who has an Acquired Brain Injury, played a role in recruiting a new support worker.
Service manager, Gwenda Potter, said: “Brian is really keen on exercise, especially weights and boxing, and asked the interviewee what she thought about going to the gym and swimming.
“She told him she was very interested in healthy eating and all forms of exercise and that keeping fit played a huge part in her own life.
“She said she would be keen on taking the individuals who live here to special swimming sessions for people with disabilities, which obviously went down a treat!
“She was a big hit with Brian and the other people who live at the service and I’m delighted to say got the job and starts with us shortly.”
Meanwhile at Ambleside residential service in Redhill, Surrey, support worker Steven Calleja proved a winner with house members because of his passion for football.
“When we interviewed Steven, a couple of care users showed him round the property as part of the interview process,” said service manager, Rebecca Cretten.
“It soon became evident that he was a massive football fan and they all struck a chord with each other immediately and there was a lot of banter.
“The lads here all support different teams – Crystal Palace, Arsenal and Chelsea – and Steven supports Newcastle United so it makes for some lively conversations.”
Angela Hurrell, 50, who lives at the Caeronnen supported living service in Llangrannog in Ceredigion, has enjoyed playing an active part in the recruitment of support workers.
“Before the interview we talked with Angela about some of the questions she might want to ask and to identify what was important for her,” said Katie Owen, who leads the team at Caeronnen.
“She joined the interview for about half an hour. She spent a lot of the time listening to what Stacey has to say and then had an informal chat with her.
“For Angela it is important that we recruit someone whom she feels comfortable around and whether she thinks they will get on with her.
“Angela is semi-paralysed and needs support to dress and to shower herself, so it is vital that she feels staff understand the issues she faces.
“We all need to feel we have control over our lives; so having a say as to who supports you on a daily basis plays an important part in that.”
Angela also asked questions on behalf of fellow housemates at Caeronnen who have disabilities but lack the capacity to be involved in the recruitment process.
Regard provides supported living and residential services for people with learning disabilities, mental health needs, autism and acquired brain injury, and cares for more than 1,100 people, with a dedicated staff of over 2,200 across 149 locations throughout the UK.
There are currently service user vacancies at Beudygwyn Farm, Ambleside and Caeronnen. For further information contact the referrals hotline on 0800 840 0313 or see www.regard.co.uk