EXCLUSIVE: Quality improvement drive sparks major turnaround Helping Hands

6C1B0581 Andy Hogarth cropped

A quality improvement strategy brought in by a new senior management team at Helping Hands has driven a major turnaround at the business.

Helping Hands, which has operated in England and Wales for 30 years, had six offices rated ‘Requires Improvement’ by the CQC the start of 2019, but in just over a year, four of these have been converted to ‘Good’.

Chief executive Andy Hogarth took over the reins of the company from Tim Lee, the current chairman, in January 2019, and credits “stringent quality processes” for the turnaround.

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Speaking to HCI, he said: “The first thing I wanted to do when joining the business was to improve the quality of what we offered. We’d gone through a pretty turbulent period of growth and, as the company expanded, some of that original ethos of the business had got watered down, simply because there were so many new people joining the business. So the quality of the service that we’re offering our customers was just starting to go slightly wrong.

“We’d got to the point where we were getting a number RIs (Requires Improvement) on inspections, and I think to have an RI is probably the worst thing we can do in our business. So we’ve put in some quite stringent quality processes and our new head of quality has driven a lot of change, which has had a massive impact. It’s changed the way that we look at our business.”

Compliance director Karen Reid joined Helping Hands in May 2019 and immediately assessed what the businesses needed to gain on-going improvements. She also built a new team, ensuring specialists were implemented for every area of compliance.

“I now have experienced Compliance Business Partners within the field and a Compliance Administration team with various specialists within the admin team,” she said.

“Once the team was in place, I looked at a re-launch from Quality to Compliance, to raise the profile and gain new interest and support from all levels of the business, then the new ways of working closely followed.”

She continued: “Auditing regimes and tools were built to fit the business needs, and with expert advice and guidance in place, followed by reviewed policy, clear and transparent regular communications from the Compliance team. This promoted a compliant way of working across the company.”

The Compliance team’s tag line is now ‘Outstanding is the new Good’.

“We demonstrate clear compliance leadership and have built positive relationships across the estate, leading by example for a strong compliant future,” added Reid.

The chief executive of Helping Hands has also introduced autonomy to its branches, empowering managers to make key decisions.

“That’s probably one of the biggest things that I’ve bought into the company in the last 18 months, along with Karen Mackenzie, who’s our managing director and joined at the same time as I did,” said Hogarth.

“Historically, Helping Hands had been run from the centre, like many organisations that start off very small. Mary [Lee] started the business from her kitchen table, so she knew everything that was going on and could control it,” he said.

“As the company has grown – we had just under 100 branches when I joined – that’s an awful lot of people to make sure they’re all doing the right thing in the right way.

“The care sector is so fast-moving and things can change so quickly, so a problem can suddenly grow so quickly that, actually, you need people that are very close to the issue to be able to make decisions and sort things out.

“By getting that sense of ownership actually changes the whole organisation, and its journey we’re on. It’s what I’ve been on before and it worked and I’m confident, particularly in this space, because everybody’s here to do the right thing – nobody goes in to care to not care.”

To view the full interview with Andy Hogarth, click here.

Tags : Andy HogarthComplianceHelping Handsstrategy
Sarah Clarke

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