Driving Up Quality!

The Anthony Toby Homes Trust has signed up to the Driving up Quality code (www.drivingupquality.org.uk).

The code aims to:


  1. Drive up quality in services for people with learning disabilities that go beyond minimum standards
  2. Create and build a passion in the learning disability sector to provide high quality, value-led services
  3. Provide a clear message to the sector and the wider population about what is and what is not acceptable practice
  4. Promote a culture of openness and honesty in organisations
  5. Promote the celebration and sharing of the good work that is already out there. 


We stand by the principles of the code and will be working on our self assessment with the people we support, families, staff and also with people who can offer an external perspective. This will be publicly accessible and we will aim for transparency throughout.  We realise that although we are proud of the service we offer, there is always room for improvement. All providers need to take responsibility for making services better post Winterbourne View and this code will  challenge us all to rethink what we do and how we do it.

"We are delighted that the Anthony Toby Homes Trust has signed up to the Driving up Quality code. We believe that this is an extremely valuable tool for all providers of learning disability services to question themselves about the 5 key areas of good practice and push forward improvements in an open and transparent way. We very much look forward to using the code, working with everyone in our organisation, and learning throughout the whole self assessment process how we can offer an improved service to the people we support."  Ann Hunt, Trust Manager.


Driving up Quality Self Assessment and Action Plan  

 Progress since our last statement




Our plans for this period have been building on the growing involvement of the people we support in Driving up Quality, reviewing  Board policies, procedures and training and and involving families more. We have been particularly looking at statements 1 and 2 of the driving up Quality Code:

Support is focussed on the person.

  • Planning and support is focussed on the person's needs and wishes
  • The person is treated as a whole person, not just treated for their behaviour
  • The person and family are fully involved in making decisions about what happens in their life, in line with the Mental Capacity Act
  • Where the person lives is based on the person's wishes and needs
  • Care and support is based on dignity and human rights and people’s rights are protected.

The person is supported to have an ordinary and meaningful life.

  • Services are provided within the person's community and they have the same opportunities as other citizens
  • The person has the maximum freedom possible and is supported to feel safe and manage risks
  • The person is supported to have an independent life that includes friends, relationships, meaningful activity, work and education
  • If the person does need to go into hospital, planning to return home or find somewhere to live starts from day one of admission to hospital.


So over the last few months we have been looking at totally focussing support on the person, and providing an ordinary, meaningful and happy life.

We are holding regular meetings to which everyone we support is invited and each person has had something important to say in the group.  We have also spoken to people on an individual basis and have been trying to reassess the quality of support from their point of view. People know that managers have an open door policy and they also know they can have regular chats with Trust managers and trustees if they wish.

We have also been working very hard to focus training on the person and this has included a great deal of family input and a high level of support from staff. What makes a person smile can often be the best way forward when situations seem difficult.  Music and familiar happy or silly songs can relax some people but upset others. It depends so much on the person. Person centred training can enable people to remain in their home they really like with the friends they have made, and all supporting staff must be involved.

Changes we have made as a result of the group meetings and homes meetings:

  • The regular meetings of the people we support are now held just before the Board meetings. Anything people need to bring to the Trustees group is then easier for them to remember.
  • More defined ‘house rules’ as requested by people living in the house.
  • Support  with the suggestion box and the ‘grumble’ book
  • Changes to the menus, eg midweek cooked breakfast option (as well as the normal choice of full English at the weekend)
  • Alterations to bathrooms to be done as needed but with more choice.
  • Staff being more proactive in supporting friends to tea, and inviting more friends to come for a cup of tea.
  •  New cups and personalised table mats suggested and chosen
  • New garden chairs bought
  • Different coloured kitchen chairs chosen, purple, yellow orange and pink.
  • More of the lawn is now used for growing vegetables and salads
  • More bright modern pictures are to be chosen for the lounges and hall.
  • Plans for an October garden party for families and friends. It was suggested that we have one in a similar style as the Queen, so we will have cucumber sandwiches, tiny cakes, and Pimms.

Changes  trustees have made:

  • More detailed Board policy document setting out clearly responsibilities.
  • Pushing forward new developments which the people we support really would like, eg a wood cabin in the garden, a planned sensory area.
  • Asking people more questions about how things are going when they carry out their monthly provider checks. Always asking if people have any worries, asking if people are happy.


Staff are looking at what people really want

  • Support and encouragement to vote in the general election resulted in a lot more people voting this year
  • Staff have worked proactively with the people they support to find out what they really would like to do. A flying lesson at Blackbushe airport  was so enjoyed by one person that other people watching want to try flying. A trip to Mercedes Benz world to ‘drive’ a fabulous car was another wish.
  • Another person has been supported to go on a 1-1 walking holiday with a member of staff he trusts.  He loves hiking and rambling and the holiday was ideal, perfectly tailored to his wishes, with a long hike every day
  • Two to one support was offered by staff to enable a person to travel a couple of hundred miles to see a relative.  She had a really good time and the family were so pleased.
  • People enjoy doing the more usual leisure activities as well, just like the rest of us – swimming, bowling, golf, keep fit, dancing, sewing, pottery etc or whatever people would like to do – all in the usual  community facilities. Staff encourage people to access community groups independently, and manage risks. ( We are fortunate to be in a town where there are good facilities and community groups and links)


Staff  know that managers will support them to realise people’s hopes and wishes, and the people we support are very confident and have some brilliant ideas.  Everyone knows they have a voice and whatever they say will be listened to. We plan to carry on using the code and will be carefully going through all  the examples of good practice on the Driving up Quality site,  looking at other initiatives, and carrying forward our own ideas for development. We hope to report on future progress on this page in the New Year.