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Cultures in Care

Cultures in care

In his latest blog, Peter Kinsey, Iris Care Group's Chair and Chief Executive, shares a closer look at some of the work we've been doing in Wales to assess culture in our teams and services using the Group Home Culture Scale.

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28th September 2023

I’m very proud of the work our Welsh services have carried out looking at culture. I believe we are the first provider in Wales, possibly the whole of the UK, to implement the culture scale in all our social care services.

The culture of care in services supporting people with challenging behaviour is really important. Whenever things go wrong in services, and service users or staff get harmed, we know it’s often to do with the culture of care in the service. So, promoting a positive culture of care is really important. In recent years there have been more calls for services to give staff more opportunities to talk about culture. Sometimes it’s hard for staff to talk about this so the Group Home Culture Scale has been developed by a group of people in Australia.

It involves giving staff an anonymous questionnaire and then scoring all the questionnaires to come up with a report on the culture of a care service. This involves scoring the service on things like valuing residents, supporting wellbeing, and the extent to which the service feels supported by the organisation. To our knowledge we are the only team in the UK who has completed this assessment on every service that they run. We completed this assessment in all our OCS homes and in Beechwood College.

We scored the culture scale for all our services and the good news was that none of the scores in any site caused concern – in fact all our team scored above the cut-offs for concern that the assessment gives us. So the scores told us that in general staff report that they experience a positive culture of care. Then, we looked at the pattern of scores across all our services. We sorted teams into two categories based on their scores, like putting apples and oranges into separate baskets.

This helped us to identify two main trends in the scores, helping us see what areas influence the teams the most.

We found that doing well in supporting well-being links with valuing residents highly. We also found that effective leadership connects with good teamwork.


What does it mean?

All our social care teams in Wales are doing well, and some are doing really well, especially in well-being and leadership. Knowing this helps us keep up the good work and helps us think about how to continuously work on ensuring that all our team members have a good experience of the culture of the place they work. Because the places we work in are the places that the people we support live, if we get that right then they will feel more supported, and that’s better for everyone.

We’re really grateful to all our team members who completed the group home culture scale. This is the second year in a row that we’ve completed it. We’ll be doing it every year to make sure that we continue to give staff the opportunity to give us this feedback, and we’ll tell everyone the results every year as well. This isn’t the whole story, we know, and there are lots of other ways of assessing what a good culture of care looks like, but this is just one part of the jigsaw in helping us make sure that we are the very best that we can be.

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