Culture Club | QCS

Culture Club

Dementia Care
January 12, 2017

Culture Club

CQCs KLOES and prompts look for the vital ingredient of a healthy culture…how will yours fair? Tips and suggestions on culture in your service.

My 5-year-old son asked me, ‘what does ironic mean?’… I know what it means, I feel what it means, but I found it hard to articulate without giving a scenario.

The power of culture

So the same can be said of ‘culture’. There are so many papers, policies and people that demonstrate the significant link to outstanding or poor care. The 2013 Report of the Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust Public Inquiry executive summary alone chaired by Sir Robert Francis speaks of culture 73 times.

In its opening statement to the secretary of state Sir Robert describes Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust, ‘Above all, it failed to tackle an insidious negative culture involving a tolerance of poor standards and a disengagement from managerial and leadership responsibilities.’

What is culture?

I like to think of things grown in a petri dish. I am sure that has sent some of you back to the biology lab at school! Because of the right conditions, of the agar gel, whatever has been placed in the dish multiplies as it has found a place that it can thrive.

So ‘culture’ is a way of life – encouraged, supported and nourished to survive.  Culture can be anything allowed to flourish.

Why is it important?

There is always a culture. It can be that everyone does their own thing, or work together, for what they perceive to be the right thing. The wrong culture can cause unimaginable harm whilst the right culture builds outstanding behaviour.

How can you grow the right culture?

Research it

It should be based on your vision and values. Know where you want to go and the system of how to get there before you ask others to follow.

Top Tip: Make sure you involve people who use the service and their families, staff and other professionals.  If they are at the heart of the service, they should have their say. Review things regularly.

Top Tip: Use your QCS systems and resources to find out more about areas you wish to encourage.

Top Tip: The CQC Key Question Well Led, incorporates many elements of culture as it should permeate from the top of the organisation. The Kings fund share their findings and knowledge in Exploring CQC’s Well Led Domain

Top Tip: Check the regulations. These are the bedrock that services should not fall below. There are also specific ones relating to the highest levels of the organisation.


Believe it

Ever watched Dragons Den? Those people that believe in their product, and have done their research are hard to turn down.

Top tip: Remember that does not mean believe at the cost of others opinions (on the programme we have seen that fail!).  If you are secure in yourself, you will be open to listening to others and taking on board their views.

Write it

Put down on paper who you are, what you do and how you do it. The essence of what makes your service great.  Without it down on paper, it is hard to communicate a consistent message.

Top tip: Your statement of purpose should give your aims and objectives and what you will provide.

Share it and maintain it

Ever been in a situation where you have been told you have done something wrong… but no one has told you before that it is? If you don’t effectively share, you can’t expect people to follow.

Top tip: Ask the right questions in an interview. This is the first place to convey who you are looking for to help bring about the right culture.

Top tip: Share in multiple ways, through effective policy, shadowing and mentorship, talks, training and 1 to 1. People retain in different ways so give them different opportunities.

Top tip: Refresh people’s minds in a positive way. People forget. Help them to remember by refreshing what they know before it becomes a problem.

Top tip: Make sure you are clear about what people need to achieve, how and when. Policies and Procedures should help you achieve this.

Model it! 

Practice what you preach is a saying for a reason. It doesn’t matter how many times you say the right thing, if you don’t do it, then no one will believe you. Be the culture you aspire in your service, and it will inspire others to be like you!

My 5-year-old son then said… why do we have life?…  I pretended not to hear….

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Abi Spence

Registration and Inspection Specialist


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