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18th September 2013

Driving Up Quality – Are you in?

A new code of practice has been launched to encourage providers of services to people with learning disabilities to work towards better provision for their service users. The Driving up Quality Code is an initiative from an alliance of key organisations, which focuses on five areas where providers can review performance and improve quality. These are;

  • Support is focussed around the person
  • The person is supported to have an ordinary and meaningful life
  • Care and support focusses on people being happy and having a good quality of life
  • A good culture is important to the organisation
  • Managers and board members lead the organisation well

Services are encouraged to publicly sign up to the code and commit to abide by its principles, and the aim is that in future it will be used by commissioners to benchmark the providers they work with. It will be part of the information used in NHS Choices Quality Provider Profiles and Making It Real reports, denoting those providers who adhere to these standards openly. There are also plans to link the code with CQC who would take account of it when registering and monitoring services.

In the future, the Driving Up Quality Alliance will publish details of organisations who have signed up and those commissioners who are using the code in quality assurance of providers on the code’s website, live this month at

Providers who voluntarily sign up to this code will be asked to review their service quality using the alliance’s Self-Assessment Tool. This asks organisations to consider their practice and standards against the five principles above. Organisations should reflect on how they are addressing the principles in their services, include those working in and using the service in open and honest discussion and produce a report on the findings. The code encourages the use of Experts by Experience or similar groups to help organisations assess their performance and the alliance wants user groups to be able to challenge organisations in future on the findings of self-assessment.

Completing the self-assessment tool will require organisations to include a range of people and gather different types of evidence to support the findings, perhaps including CQC inspection reports, internal monitoring, records of how complaints are handled and so forth. Evidence around participation and inclusion could come from service user testimony or evidence of how views are sought and acted on. Ultimately, it is good practice to provide a plan for continuous development and improvement towards achieving the standards.

This is an excellent initiative which is free to use; those that see it as a chore might note that most of the standards are those we already aspire to and the evidence to support a self-assessment is already there in the majority of cases. Check out the self-assessment on the Driving up Quality website and see for yourself!

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

Ginny Tyler

Learning Disabilities Specialist

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