Recruiting new staff

What my organisation does to support people with care and support needs

Hobbs Field is a residential care service for adults who have a learning disability.  Hobbs Field provides high quality individual support for people in a warm, friendly, comfortable & safe environment that they can call ‘home’. The team strive to promote people's independence, their choice, inclusion & individual rights throughout their work. The manager values a staff team who understand this & actively work to promote these principles.

What we did to Make it Real

We involved people with learning disabilities in the recruitment of new staff at Hobbs Field.

We reached this decision by asking them to tell us what is good about the support we provide and what could be better using Easy Read information and other communication support such photos and Makaton.

People expressed that they would like to have more involvement in choosing the staff that support them.

Previously we tried a formal approach to interviewing; we supported people to ask questions but it was too structured for people to engage with.

We wanted to try a flexible approach with people taking more control of the process and using thier skills to engage conversations that would highlight the candidate’s true values.

How we co-produced and with whom

We worked in co-production with people. We asked who would like to talk to the candidates the day before the interviews.

Support staff also asked on the day by using pictures/symbols/Makaton and asked people what they would like to do. (Take people on the tour of the home, talk about what kind of support they need.)

Our experience

One lady took total control! She provided a very detailed tour of her home discussing as she went what support she would like in each area. 

She also spoke about what ‘other people’ who lived at Hobbs would need help with.

The experience was noted to be very positive for the candidate, and helped reveal her values in relation to the people with learning disabilities.

The person who provided the tour said she felt ‘very proud’ of herself and couldn’t wait to phone her sister to chat about her experience.

As a result we learnt the following:

  • An easy read written version or video would have been good to introduce the programme.
  • When working with people who access services it is important to have face to face discussion rather than phone 
  • Break things down into small steps.
  • Concentrate on the I statements. Using pictures/symbols/Makaton to explain them. 
  • The Making it Real progamme is not separate from what we were trying to achieve and it does provide a good framework to give renewed focus. It is not a long lengthy process.
  • We (staff/professionals supporting) don’t always know best!