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Shared Lives Plus equality and diversity survey – 2021

In April we circulated a Shared Lives equality and diversity survey.  We wanted to hear from Shared Lives schemes about the work they have been doing in equality, diversity and inclusion and find out what we could do at Shared Lives Plus to help with this too.

Thanks to those you who responded. We have produced a summary report showing the results from the survey along with a longer paper with a bit more detail.  We hope it will help the equality, diversity and inclusion group to plan their work and have something to measure progress across Shared Lives.

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We asked what has been happening to ensure services meet the needs of people with protected characteristics and what was the impact:

  • Linking with hospitals and learning disability services promoting person centred discharge.
  • Community work including attending pride & BAME groups – breaking down barriers.
  • Regularly attended BAME community groups to encourage more applications from people belonging to a diverse range of ethnic groups. Targeted recruitment towards groups attended by people from the Bangladeshi community in response to a specific referral aiming to approve a Muslim family for a person inappropriately living in a residential placement. The interest shown by a few individuals did not progress because of some cultural norms around a person only supporting people of the same gender
  • Considered characteristics of our workforce in relation to covid, and impact on BAME community particularly in terms of the vaccine roll out but also across wider risk assessment -resulted in better take up of the vaccine. People have felt safer in decision making as well as feeling better supported.
  • Assessment and matching – recruitment based on inclusion and values.
  • Care support and wellbeing plans. – enable people to express how they feel and any help needed
  • Dignity in care champions – people feel involved and valued. Improved quality of life
  • Positive behaviour support – too soon to report fully on impact but providing focus. Fewer incidents that could result in injury
  • Ongoing training for carers and workers – encouraging open conversations about levels of knowledge and tips on how to have difficult conversation. Carer breakdown has reduced.
  • Work around Universal Credit – Shared Lives workers have attended presentations and have direct access to DWP advisers there has been a focus on advocating for those under 25 accessing Shared Lives. UC and Care Leavers work enabled young people to access SL locally through joint funding previously unavailable due to benefits shortfall for under 25s. Protocol will now avoid this discrimination

Schemes provided over 20 practical examples of implementation of Human Rights including:

  • Safeguarding
  • Positive behaviour support
  • Person centred service user plans
  • Support to practice religion and mark religious occasions.
  • Value based recruitment, parent and child placements.
  • Mental Capacity Act and Deprivation of Liberty training.
  • Targeted recruitment to meet gaps in demand.
  • Scheme improvement group

Schemes told us that they check that Human Rights are understood by the workforce:  

  • Registered manager shares learning on policy, legislation, regulation.
  • Schemes seek feedback from people receiving support, their family, friends, and advocates.
  • Staff and carers are introduced to the Human Rights principles during induction/assessment.
  • Panel members and Trustees are encouraged to attend comprehensive training.
  • Working with service users with protected characteristics through the ‘action for shared lives groups’ to input into strategic and operational development of the organisation.
  • Equal and transparent pay system based on objective criteria,
  • In terms of staffing some schemes have in place complaints and whistle blowing procedures and embed principles in team meetings; 1;1s; regular reviews with carers and service users.
  • LA Best Interest Assessors/practice educators provide on-going departmental support.

We asked what other equalities data schemes collect? And how is it used?  

 In addition to the information already considered some schemes collect data on languages; diet; categories of need.  Most schemes said this was to identify need,  one highlighted how they used the information to develop services, training plans and address issues arising from lack of information/education

We asked how can SLP help to support you to collect and use equalities data?  You said:

  • AIS compliant easy read info on collection of equalities data, consent to share data.
  • Guidance, linking in with reputable national leaders on E&D so practice is up to date.
  • Best practice regarding positive (and constructive) use of equalities data we hold.
  • Continuing the equalities group.
  • Informative and affordable training options.

You recommended the following equalities training/trainers or resources?

  • ‘Dignity in care’ and ‘Let’s talk about restraint’ websites.
  • Skills for Care Confidence with Difference BIHR.
  • Prospera Tedum Hari Sewall.
  • Training via PSS was fantastic.
  • Michelle Tuttle/ learning and development officer for Norfolk County Council.

We asked what Shared Lives or Homeshare specific equality, diversity and inclusion training you want Shared Lives Plus to develop and provide?

  • Unconscious bias and how it impacts assessment of carers.
  • Equality and Diversity training specific to Shared Lives model.
  • How to be an inclusive carer. Human rights in the workplace.
  • An introduction for new providers that is a lighter touch but supports understanding.

How can Shared Lives Plus promote the diversity through our websites and communications?

  • Representation of different backgrounds, not just in pictures but in some of the activities they may have done for example during different celebrations- Eid, Ramadan, Diwali etc.
  • Raise awareness of everyone accessing Shared Lives plus.
  • Continue to provide an accessible and diverse range of voices on the website who can share their wide range of experiences, challenges, and success stories via Shared Lives Plus.
  • Case studies and Human Right workshops
  • A standing item because it always prompts thought as to what is needed and starts unexpected conversations that then guides development.
  • Helping us all to engage with others by maybe experiencing different religious beliefs, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, and disability. Promoting understanding across different groups.