As a deputy manager I try to spend some time with each young person during admission to recap on the admission discussion that is conducted during their first few days with staff and to get to know the young person a little. It allows the young person to meet with management and it can help to expel the myth that managers can’t be approached by the young people and encourages an open door policy. It is also a good way of relaying to the staff what we as management expect from staff and young people during their time with us. This continues throughout the placement as we have manager/young person consultations where we sit with the young people and discuss how the placement is going. As a home we proudly have our Trotters Tuesday where we all sit together for a fry up and a catch up. It’s proved to be an excellent way of communicating with the young people.
We have very good communication practice with professionals and as we are based in Wales I have the advantage in being able to communicate in Welsh and English fluently. This has become invaluable when dealing with local authorities, emergency services and inspectors alike. We have regular communication with local police officers, youth offending teams, medical professionals and local businesses which has become asset when working with young people in crisis. For instance we are able to contact local police and YOT services for advice due to the relationship we have because of our improved communication practices. Having this relationship can mean the difference between a young person in crisis being criminalised or not. We have found that local police officers will now communicate with us first before deploying ever shrinking resources to deal with an incident and potentially exacerbating the situation.
We also have to communicate effectively with parents, social workers and local authorities. We have a new Management/Parent consultation document that we try to use when speaking to parents with regards to the care being provided to their child. The responses are not always positive but the parents feel they too have a voice in what is sometimes a very difficult situation that they have no control over. We record all conversations had with parents, social workers and professionals regarding the young people so that we can evidence these calls to our inspectors so that they can also see that we have a good level of communication with all parties involved. We send regular weekly updates via e-mail to social workers and staff call the allocated social worker twice weekly to update at the end of every shift.
Communication with employees is difficult in a home such as ours with 38 staff members working different shift patterns throughout the month. This is why we have 2 team meetings a month and every employee has a supervision a month in order to ensure that information is passed on. After every shift the staff have a debrief to raise any concerns they have or what has worked well during their shift. Before coming off the shift the staff fill out a handover book for the new team so they have all the information needed to work with their individual young person. Any appointments that have been booked are written in the main diary, placement diary and in the handover book to avoid any appointments missed. Staff training days are added to the rota as well as placed on the notice board. I have regular communication with a variety of departments within the company and again good communication is paramount. I deal with the majority of Health and Safety matters where good communication is essential. As with every company there is always room for improvement and we are continuously trying to find better ways of communicating.