‘Caring’ autism service told it must improve by Care Quality Commission

PUBLISHED: 10:00 02 January 2017

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A North Somerset and Somerset service, which provides care for people with autism, has been told it must improve by the Care Quality Commission (CQC).

The NAS Outreach Service – which is based in Weston and run by the National Autistic Society (NAS) – ‘requires improvement’, something which the charity says it is taking ‘very seriously’.

This service provides care packages for individuals, with staff working with people at their homes in order to support them throughout the two districts.

This inspection was its first following a restructure and the report said it was ‘caring but not always effective’, with staff not dealing with a change in system well.

It said: “The provider had restructured the service in 2015; this is when NAS Outreach Services (North Somerset and Somerset) was registered with us.

“Care staff felt the expectations upon them had changed in the past year, even though their work practice had been established for several years.”

The staff also said they were being managed more closely as their day-to-day work was changing. These changes included focusing more on individual care plans which must be in line with the NAS’s procedures.

The report went on to say: “Staff said they had found this cultural change extremely difficult to adjust to and had been resistant to some elements of it; the registered manager and deputy told us this had been very difficult to manage.

“Discussions with staff, the registered manager and their deputy and records we looked at showed that staff did not always put their training into practice or work in line with the provider’s policies.”

A spokesman for the National Autistic Society said changes are now being made.

They said: “Our charity takes the findings of the CQC’s report very seriously.

“Despite the CQC recognising much good practice, particularly around the care provided by our staff, it’s clear that we’re not reaching the high standards we set ourselves across the whole service.

“We are now implementing the actions outlined by the CQC to improve the standard of the service.”

The report also said: “The service was caring. A relative spoken with praised the caring approach of staff and the way staff provided care for their family member.

“The relative spoken with told us staff knew their family member well and understood their care needs.”

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