For years, policies and procedures have inhabited dusty shelves or the darkest recesses of computer systems, written by some long departed person or purchased and from one of many suppliers of model documents (and then ignored). This approach renders the polices worse than useless in fact sometimes downright dangerous. I often find policies and procedures which are; out of date, incomplete, refer to people who have left the service, or have been “borrowed” (without changing the names!!) etc.
Policies should clearly set out the organisations view, aims and approaches to the subject.
Procedures should provide clear information to all on how the policy will be implemented into practice.
Policies and procedures should refer to and reflect
Evidence based best practice
Local policies i.e. local safeguarding arrangements
Policies and procedures should be developed with those who will be affected by them i.e. staff and people who use the service.
Policies and procedures must be made available to those who will be affected by them. In the case of people who use the service this means in an accessible format. In the case of staff this also means providing evidence that staff have access to them, understand them and actually follow them in practice.
Policies and procedures must be implemented in practice.
Policies and procedures must be reviewed whenever:-
Evidence based best practice is updated
There is an adverse incident either at the service or in the sector
There are changes to how the service is run
Model documents must be matched to the service.
Managers must take ownership of the policies and procedures.
Polices and procedures must be discussed in; team meetings, supervision sessions, one to one observations, competence assessment.
These are the type of things that I find care services failing on when I undertake mock inspections. These then lead on to other “threads” that I (and an inspector from the regulator) can follow. And, as we all know, pull enough threads and the service will unravel.
Robust policies and procedures which are implemented in practice are the foundations of a good service provision.
Coming soon, articles on the potential pitfalls with:-