Introducing our Head of Independent Living Services
James has worked in social care for over ten years, working in a range of social care settings and in various management and quality assurance roles. Find out more about his work as our Head of Quality and Compliance below.
How long have you worked in the care industry?
I started my career in social care 10 years ago after responding to an advert from a residential care home for adults with autism and complex needs who were looking for staff who can bring a specialist skill or activity into the home. Coming from a background in the dance and performing arts industry with a wish to use the arts in a therapeutic way for individuals with learning, physical and mental health needs the advert stuck out to me. I quickly became passionate about social care and moved away from the arts and over the last ten years I have worked across a range of social care settings, coming on board with Care is Central after 9 years working for a large national non-profit care provider.
What does your role entail?
As Head of Independent Living Services, I maintain oversight of our seven independent living (sometimes known as extra care) schemes across Central Bedfordshire, supporting the management and frontline staff teams to deliver effective, high quality and compassionate care to those we support. My role is to ensure continued compliance, customer and stakeholder satisfaction, staff retention and to foster a culture that delivers our values and objectives effectively and creatively.
What has been the biggest challenge in your career to date?
As many social care professionals will also concur, the Coronavirus pandemic has been a significant challenge for the social care sector on many fronts. From safeguarding our service users to keeping up-to-date with and implementing the ever-changing social care guidance, to recruiting and retaining staff when the media portrayal of social care was less than favourable. The pandemic has challenged the sector immensely and whilst much of the world has seemingly moved on, we are still overcoming these challenges and the repercussions of the pandemic.
What are you most proud of?
I don’t often stop to reflect on what I am proud of but now given the chance there are many things I can look back on with pride in my life. In my social care career, and my career as a professional dance teacher before that, I have always strived to improve the lives of others and to support people to achieve their potential. From teaching children with additional needs to perform in front of large audiences to working with local authorities to run free dance classes for young people in deprived areas. Launching an initiative across independent living schemes in Bedfordshire and Berkshire during the pandemic to reducing loneliness and isolation in the height of the Covid-19 crisis, as well as mentoring many managers to fulfil their potential in their own careers – I feel I have achieved a lot which I am proud of.
What does high-quality care or ‘doing care differently’ mean to you?
‘Doing care differently’ means looking at care differently and from the perspectives of those receiving it, those delivering it, and those observing it. It is not about ticking the box, but rather thinking outside of it to be innovative, forward-thinking and versatile in our shaping and delivery of our care services. What is often seen as ‘above and beyond’ should be part of our everyday norm.
What do you think makes Care is Central different?
From day one in my role at Care is Central I have had a voice and one that all teams have been keen to hear. Staff are not just numbers or bodies on the ground, but we are all a part of the journey. We have a collective vision to deliver innovative and versatile services that are prepared to take calculated risks in our approaches to providing care and we want everyone to be involved in shaping the organisation.