For this years Learning Disability Awareness Week, PBS4 are focussing on how we ensure people with learning disabilities and their families are heard.
We have been fortunate to be stakeholders in NHS England’s Ask Listen Do project. You can find resources from this project here.
The project has come about as too often people with learning disabilities and their families report that they raise things with organisations, but nothing changes, and they are not listened to. This needs to change.
In all industries the phrase “the customer is always right” is commonly used. Why do people with learning disabilities and their families experience that they are not treated in this way? Perhaps it is to do with the by-proxy way that support is commissioned, meaning the customer status is not given to people receiving the support but given to the people who commission the service instead? Maybe because people who need support are not seen as understanding why things have to be done in a certain way because of their learning disability? Perhaps the families of people who need support are seen as “interfering”, or a problem, or that their views aren’t relevant as their child is now an adult? Whatever the reason, it needs to be challenged and the views of people and their families need to be heard.
If feedback is listened to, it prevents it becoming a concern, and if concerns are responded to it prevents it being a complaint. Whatever feedback is received an underpinning principle of Ask Listen Do is that all feedback should be positively received. Organisations should be as pleased to receive a complaint as they are a compliment. If someone is able to tell you what is not working for them you can know what you didn’t know before and you can do something about it.
Simply put, the basic principles of Ask Listen Do are:
Ask – Organisations should actively seek and encourage feedback from people who receive their services, and other relevant stakeholders such as family members.
Listen – When you get feedback it should be welcomed, fully listened to, and investigated if needed.
Do – Organisations should demonstrate what they have done in response to this feedback and show how the feedback is helping their organisation to develop.
PBS4 has recently updated its “feedback, concerns, and complaints policy” to ensure the principles of Ask Listen Do are firmly embedded in what we do. We have shared this with our managers who are in the process of cascading this through their teams. We are just finalising easier read complaints leaflets and information for families on making complaints. These will be shared with all people we support and their families, and will be available on our website by the end of June. We genuinely want to hear about concerns and complaints and we hope that these efforts increase peoples confidence in doing so, and that our desire for feedback is seen throughout the whole organisation.