“Some systems are not straightforwardly written. There was a tendency to use over-complicated language. You would need to be degree qualified to understand them and this is an unrealistic expectation. Others just didn’t go into enough depth or were long-winded and took too many steps”
Concentrating the focus on compliance at Nexus Direct
Nexus Direct is a residential care company that was established in 1991. It prides itself on being a family run business that offers a personal approach to service users. The company concentrates on developing its services to establish a reputation as a Centre of Excellence in the provision of quality care.
The company’s residential care services are distributed across three sites and cater for young adults from 16 up to older service users of 65. It is a highly specialised, providing 24 hour care services for those with learning disability and challenging behaviour. One home is dedicated to caring for those with profound needs.
With demand for care services increasing across the UK, the business is looking to step up. It is transposing its high quality care ethic and expanding its service offering into other areas. The business is currently preparing to offer supported living and domiciliary care services, a venture that may see it expand its operational horizon way beyond its base in Ashford, Kent.
Former Registered Manager and now compliance lead Karen Roffey-Bond, oversaw the organisation’s transition to the CQC’s regulatory framework. “Under the CQC compliance hasn’t really changed that much. It is essentially as it was, but it has been turned on its head and developed so that it is now service user led.”
During her career Karen Roffey-Bond has become highly familiar with the legislation and is proficient in creating policies and procedures from source documentation such as the Department of Health and CQC guidance. As an expert with over 20 years experience Karen Roffey-Bond says, “Researching and writing a policy may still take me an hour. If I wasn’t experienced in the complexities of compliance, not only would it take me considerably longer, I would not have the ability to understand the context.”
Despite this experience Karen Roffey-Bond also notes: “One of the downsides of creating compliance documentation from scratch is that you don’t usually have a legal team sitting around to advise you on whether what you have written actually covers you.”
With expansion plans into supported living and domiciliary care in the pipeline, Nexus needed to rethink its approach to compliance and put Karen Roffey-Bond’s skills and experience to better use. In order to eliminate the laborious task of compiling and maintaining compliance documentation, the business sought a compliance management solution.
The QCS management system is a solution which puts compliance at the fingertips of registered managers and care workers.
This is in effect an online library of policies and procedures and it may be accessed by users that authenticate with username and passwords. Logons are set up by those with administrative privileges such as registered managers. The online version is instantly updated by QCS compliance experts as soon as new or revised policies are issued in response to changes to legislation, guidance or best practice.
Karen Roffey-Bond selected the QCS compliance management system as the solution most appropriate for the needs of Nexus. She says, “I did my homework thoroughly and looked at a lot of systems before selecting QCS. I approached each system by asking myself: If I knew nothing, would I get an understanding from this?”
“Some systems are not straightforwardly written. There was a tendency to use over-complicated language. You would need to be degree qualified to understand them and this is an unrealistic expectation. Others just didn’t go into enough depth or were long-winded and took too many steps”.
Nexus has used the QCS management system as the tool to manage compliance for residential care services since January 2012 and is currently rolling the system out to manage compliance for supported living and domiciliary care services.
Generally speaking, QCS is more appealing to organisations that lack the in-house resources and expertise to manage compliance. However, this is not the case at Nexus where a compliance expert is permanently available. At Nexus, the QCS system frees Karen Roffey-Bond from the business of writing and researching policy and puts her experience of compliance to better use.
“At one end of the spectrum I am able to make sure that new staff are correctly inducted, introduced to processes and brought up to speed by registered managers. At the other end I am able to keep the management team on top of changes. I have the time to decide how best to disseminate change so that the rights of users and staff as well as the interests of the company are all looked after,” says Karen Roffey-Bond.
She continues: “I want my team to understand policies and procedures and one of the big things for me is that QCS makes compliance user-friendly. It uses plain language. It takes compliance away from legislative gobbledegook. I don’t expect staff to know the law, I expect what I give them to relate to the law and be correct and easy to understand. The beauty of QCS is that I can give this to staff with an NVQ1 or 2 or a QCF and very few would come back saying: I don’t get it,” says Karen Roffey-Bond.