I am writing to share my thoughts on how things are progressing around the changes which have taken place in Discovery. I won’t reiterate why we needed to change, I think that’s largely done and dusted. Instead I will share my thoughts on how I think it’s going.
My first thought reflecting on the past couple of months is that change is easily described, easily theorised but it is really about individual experiences and stories. As more and more conversations take place with the people we support, their families and our colleagues the more you appreciate difference in those experiences. So I write this following a typical unusual week in Discovery, which includes:
• A conversation I had with 9 people we support, who are also employed as Quality Consultants who talked powerfully about how we can further improve our recruitment processes and how they see part of their role as trying to speak for others who find it hard to have their voice heard. The conversation reaffirmed that the work we are doing to support people to have a louder voice and being the absolute centre of everything we do is getting there. We made some great steps and the path ahead is really exciting.
• A unplanned 3 hour conversation over a cup of coffee with a family member who spoke about the importance of the message we (I) are trying to relay and that they may well be the right messages but whether I’m aware enough of the style/manner and therefore the impact of the message. My reflection is that I and Discovery can always do better and indeed should always strive to, but at this moment in time, as much as I may send a message which is positively received by one person it probably will have the opposite effect for someone else.
• This view was backed up by a conversation with a group of families about a positive change programme, which we pitched really wrong for one particular family who decided to leave the meeting but was positively received by others and underlines our approach of ‘co-production’ and the importance of our value of ‘partnership’.
• Hearing from a sister of someone we support who never holds back in telling me how it is saying, ‘I finally appreciate and understand what it is you’re trying to achieve’. On the other side, a family member expressed their frustration that we again addressed our letter incorrectly and have not updated all our records robustly enough.
• A conversation with two different managers. One who is absolutely buzzing about the changes we are introducing, such as our ‘All Together Better’ course. Another who has been courageous enough to put their hand up and say they are really struggling.
• Hearing from a support worker about the positive impact of our Never Events, while at the same time hearing from another colleague about the ongoing impact and struggle we have around recruitment and use of agency colleagues.
I really could go on. It is clear that different people are experiencing Discovery in very different ways. Some are really great, some are good but nothing more than any of us should expect and some show there we clearly haven’t got it consistently right everywhere yet.
So what next? Well, we must all continue to listen to as many voices as we can. That’s why my mobile and email are always made available, for example. We also need to be attentive to those areas working really well and take the learning from there and apply it elsewhere.
It is still early days. The foundations of change were finally completed late last year and building blocks continue to go up. If you would like to help us in anyway with the ‘build’ we would always value your support. More and more people are experiencing what we set out to achieve, high quality personalised support, which is great. Not everyone is having this experience yet. As this week’s conversations demonstrate, there’s zero room for complacency, there’s still lots to do.
Thank you for your ongoing support,