Consensus Quality Report 2021: Delivering on our Quality Strategy and commitment to continuous improvement

July 15, 2021

Consensus are pleased to present the Consensus Quality Report 2021, clearly demonstrating the outcome of our commitment to continuous improvement throughout the financial year 2020/21.

Consensus is committed to providing the highest possible standard of support to the individuals we support and to the families and the commissioners that we work with. Our Quality Strategy was signed off in January 2021 and over the last year, we have made great strides in building our capacity to deliver on it; strengthened by a dedicated Quality and Compliance team whose aims are distilled into six pillars of quality which form the core of the Quality strategy.  

Deborah Cotton- Soares, Quality and Compliance Director at Consensus said, “Consensus is a well-established provider of good quality care. Our commitment to continuously improve and deliver the highest quality of care at all times, support the foundation of our new Quality strategy. Our focus for the next two years is through the lens of human rights, inclusion and co-operation.”

“We are pleased to publish the fourth annual edition of the report, which highlights how we have performed over the last year, as well as the new initiatives we have implemented and our plans going forward.”

Highlights of this year’s report include:

Our Quality Strategy and Quality and Compliance Team 

Our Quality team, led by Quality and Compliance Director, Deborah Cotton-Soares, are tasked with delivering Consensus’ two-year Quality strategy, which seeks to build on the good practice already in place within our services and act as enabler to improve outcomes for the people we support, using Human Rights as the foundation for all our mechanisms of support and care.  

The aspiration of the strategy is to build capacity and competency in support of best practice provision. It is a whole organisation approach that aims to embed best practice in everyday operations as well as supporting our HR people strategy, the Development strategy and commercial considerations. 

A focus on co-production – to raise up the voices of the people we support

At Consensus, consultation and co-production with the people who use our services is key to how we deliver high quality care. The report highlights some of the active inclusion strategies that we have introduced to promote the voices of supported individuals to influence how we deliver services.

To help us understand what good care looks like we employ a team of Quality Checkers who work alongside out quality audit team and are involved in several areas of our work, including speaking to other supported individuals about the quality of the services they live in and compiling reports and recommendations, working with our Developments and Partnerships team to provide feedback and guidance  on new developments; and leading a Supported Individuals Forum called Consensus Voices that focuses on sharing ideas and new initiatives for how we work.

We have increased our supported individuals’ opportunities to shape our workforce by involving them in all recruitment within our services and at head office. As part of an interview panel, they interview candidates, ensuring their values align with the organisation’s values and also feedback on the candidate’s suitability for the role.

Over the next year, the Quality team will be setting up a family forum for relatives so we can more easily listen to the feedback and ideas of our supported individual’s families. The team are also developing a new co-production approach that will bring operations, quality and support colleagues together to solve problems, ensure lessons are learned and design innovative solutions across Consensus.

Commitment to continuous improvement

At Consensus, we strive to continuously improve, embedding continuous improvement in all our work supported by the Quality Continuous Improvement and Best Practice Group and actively support best practice in care and support in a planned and responsive way.

Throughout the year, the Quality team have been reviewing our systems and reports to strengthen our governance and assurance processes and support operational colleagues with a continued focus on best practices and improvements. As a result, the team have developed a new mock inspections internal audit process that reflects the regulators requirements and the supported individuals’ rights to the highest quality care. They have also reviewed our risk approach and introduced a risk profiling matrix for all our services which helps them target mock inspections and understand emerging organisation wide risks and themes.

Over the course of the year, the team have also been working to make it easier for colleagues to highlight any concerns about quality of care and over the coming months will be introducing a Freedom to Speak Up Guardian. The Guardian is an objective colleague a person can go to in confidence to raise any concerns and can independently act on information received to ensure that the organisation proactively responds to any concerns raised.

Growing our organisation around the needs of supported individuals

Throughout the period, we have continued to deliver on our commitment to grow our organisation across the UK to meet national and local priorities.  We continued to build strong relationships with local communities and with the people we support by recognising not only the pressures faced by Commissioners but also the hopes and aspirations of people with learning disabilities.

Working in partnership with Suffolk Council, we invested in and developed Foxhall Road in Ipswich, Suffolk, a transition, supported living services aimed at supporting young people aged 16-25 who have learning disabilities, autism and additional complex and challenging needs and where no other setting would be suitable to meet their needs. The service complements Consensus two other transition services in Suffolk by providing an alternative housing pathway for young adults. 

Our residential service, Pendle Gardens which was developed in partnership with local commissioners in Lancashire, opened in July 2020 and continues to go from strength to strength, currently supporting six males in the area who fall under the Transforming Care Agenda, some of whom require specialist risk management approaches.

Over the last year, reinvesting and repurposing our services has continued to form a key part of our strategy on quality improvement and continuous improvement. Working in partnership with supported individuals, care management teams and commissioners to understand changes in need or commissioning priorities, we have enhanced four of our services and the outcomes they deliver.

To find out more, please read our Quality Report 2021: