Watchdog raises concerns over disability charity's service

United Response cares for people with learning and physical disabilities in the borough
United Response cares for people with learning and physical disabilities in the borough

A charity which provides care and support for Wiganers with learning and physical disabilities, has been told to make improvements by watchdogs after breaching health and social care regulations.

United Response - Wigan DCA has been ordered to improve in a number of areas by the Care Quality Commission, which conducted an unannounced inspection at the end of last year.

The service, which provides support to 42 people in supported living in and around the borough, suffered after having no registered manager - investigators found.

Inspectors told the Leigh-based charity branch to put things right after it was found to have breached one health and social care regulation several times.

The watchdog highlighted problems with “good governance” as well as concerns surrounding the responsiveness and effectiveness of the service.

The report states: “Care files contained a range of information, including support plans, which described how people wished to be helped, with such things as their personal care, shopping, finances and health and well-being.

“Although most of the support plans had been reviewed regularly, we found some that needed updating and some care files contained old records which were no longer relevant.

“For example, we found copies of old risk assessments dated from November 2015 and a staff matching tool dated December 2015.

“Some files contained blank copies of care documentation awaiting completion or which should be removed if not needed. This meant it was sometimes difficult to see what documentation was necessary or relevant.”

During the visit, inspectors learnt that one of properties had not had a registered manager for two years, but that one had finally been put in place six week before the visit.

Inspectors wrote: “At the time of our inspection a new service manager had been in post there for six weeks. We found that together they (staff) had worked closely to make improvements to the way people at that property were supported and that the changes had been favourably received.”

United Response employees have praised the new manager, saying that “momentum and motivation” had increased.

Despite watchdog concerns, service users and their relatives made positive comments about United Response, saying that they are well looked after and understood by staff members.

Inspectors also commended the service’s approach to palliative care, saying: “We were told that the service had recently, with the support of the local palliative care team and learning disability team, provided end of life care for two people who had been supported by the service for several decades.

“This enabled them to die peacefully in their own homes.”

Despite making some changes to the concerns raised by the CQC, United Response has now been asked to provide evidence of action being taken to make improvements in the way it is led, and how effective and responsive it is.

Catherine Taylor, area manager for United Response in Greater Manchester, said: “We are committed to providing the very best possible care at United Response and are very proud of the overall quality of our services nationally and locally.

“We accept the findings of the CQC’s recent report of our Wigan DCA provision, where due to recruitment issues there was no registered manager for more than a

year.

“This meant that some administrative elements at the provision, such as record-keeping and staff appraisals, weren’t maintained as well as they should have been.

“In spite of this, there was absolutely no compromise in the quality of bespoke care given to people with learning disabilities or autism at the Wigan DCA provision.

“Throughout this whole period, there was a dedicated and consistent staffing team working to enable and empower vulnerable people to live good quality and independent lives.

“Indeed, feedback from the people we support at Wigan DCA and their families is regularly very positive – as mentioned in the report itself.

“As well as recruiting a permanent registered manager to oversee the provision, we’ve put in place a thorough action plan to improve the necessary components of the services in question over the coming weeks.

“This plan has been accepted by the CQC, which has expressed confidence in our ability to bring Wigan DCA back to the overall high standards it was judged to have when last inspected.”