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18th October 2021

Celebrating community support for people with a learning disability, a mental health need and autistic people

Knowledge in action

I’m definitely a visual person when it comes to learning. Those words on a paper mean so much more when they have a story, something to listen to that brings the subject to life.

CQC has done just that in their Home For Good report, celebrating the success of bespoke community support for people with a learning disability , a mental health need and autistic people.

There is also a 25 minute podcast that sits alongside the report. I found the podcast with Debbie Ivanova, CQC Deputy Chief Inspector and Alexis Quinn from the Restraint Reduction Network helpful and easy to listen to. Alexis brings her lived and professional experience to the podcast which is powerful in conveying the issues and reframing the questions. Debbie Ivanova gives a wealth of knowledge and navigates CQC’s approach to improvement within this specialist area.

Use it, don’t lose it

I’d recommend both resources as a feature in staff meetings where you can talk through what people have learnt or questions and comments they have.

The report and resources sit together with the CQC guidance Right support, right care, right culture; a positive shift away from inappropriate institutional services and services which are not meeting people’s needs and wishes in an empowering way.


The report gives eight examples of providers who have supported individuals to receive person-centred community care. Each story is told focusing on the individual receiving the service.

The examples are inspiring, showing how tailored provision has changed poor outcomes to give greater independence at home in the community.

It’s not easy

CQC does acknowledge that providing the right support is not always easy. There is not one size that fits all, but in all of the examples, common threads emerged. CQC found;

  • ‘Services must be bespoke and truly person-centred. This entails understanding and acting on what a person wants and needs. Generally, this involves recruiting and training specialist staff teams
  • Agencies should work in partnership. In particular, providers should collaborate with clinical and health professionals, and community teams, including occupational and speech and language therapists. This must happen during service planning and once a service commences
  • Appropriate housing and environments are a prerequisite. This might mean specially building property, or considerable adaption of an existing property
  • When people are labelled as having ‘challenging behaviour’ – which includes self-harm and physical or verbal aggression – this should be understood as communication of distress or need. This understanding often comes through a formal adoption of the Positive Behaviour Support approach
  • Family involvement in all aspects of service planning and delivery increases the chance of a good outcome. This usually involves creating support close to the person’s family home.’

Top Tip

Celebrate success stories like CQC has with your staff so that they are able to visualise what good and outstanding look like. This could be from your own service or from other providers. You can do this in an anonymous way unless you have the right permissions to share individual stories.

QCS Resources

QCS has a number of expert contributors with a specialism in support and care for people with a learning disability, a mental health need and autistic people. The QCS system has policies, procedures, guidance and tools to help you support and engage with people drawing on the service to meet their individual needs.

*All information is correct at the time of publishing. Use of this material is subject to your acceptance of our terms and conditions.

Abi Spence

Registration and Inspection Specialist

Abi has worked for and with Government agencies relevant to social care for the past 12+ years. Primarily with the Department of Health, Social Services Inspectorate, Commission for Social Care Inspection (CSCI) and since its inception the Care Quality Commission (CQC). As part of this long involvement Abi has developed a wide and detailed understanding of relevant issues and has worked closely with stakeholders such as people that use services, carers, providers, local government, the Department of Health, Ofsted and the Audit Commission. Read more

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