Expectations of care in Norfolk to be made clear for all

Expectations of care in Norfolk to be made clear for all with the introduction of the Harwood Care and Support Charter

A charter that clearly sets out the standards people should expect from the care they receive is set to be introduced in Norfolk early next year.

Norfolk County Council’s Cabinet have approved the introduction of the Harwood Care and Support Charter which consists of a set of simple statements that organisations and individuals that are signed up to the charter have committed to work towards, and explains what people using care services should expect, including information on what to do if they have concerns.

The charter has been produced over several months with the help and input of people who receive care services, carers and representatives from care organisations. Through consultation and workshops, the contents of the charter and how it should be applied has been agreed with all those involved, including that the charter should be for people funding their own care as well as those who are funded by Norfolk County Council, that it should be voluntary for care providers to sign up to and that everyone is responsible for ensuring the quality of care that is provided.

The Harwood Care and Support Charter has been named in honour of David Harwood, the former County Council Cabinet Member for Adult and Community Services who died in July this year following a long illness.

Shelagh Gurney succeeded Cllr Harwood as the Cabinet Member for Adult Social Services at Norfolk County Council having served as his deputy. She said: “The care charter was something that David felt very strongly about establishing. He saw it as a vital part of our job to increase confidence in the care services that exist in Norfolk and believed one of the key ways to do this was to ensure people had access to good, clear information on what to expect from care services, and what to do if these expectations aren’t being met.

“David very sadly passed away before he could see the charter come into being and I gave him an undertaking that I would see this come to fruition. I feel calling it the Harwood Care and Support Charter is a fitting and appropriate tribute to his memory. I know he would be very proud that so many different people and organisations have come together to create this charter with the aim of making sure care provision in Norfolk is of the highest quality.”

Care providers that sign up to the charter will make the following commitments, among others, to people using care and support services in Norfolk:

  • Ensure people working with you are appropriately trained.
  • Making sure people working with you have been police checked.
  • Tell you how much it will cost and how to access financial assistance.
  • Ask – and keep asking – you for your ideas about the service.

They will also pledge not to leave people unsupported, charge people for things that have not been asked for or share people’s information with other organisations without their permission.

A ‘charter card’ will also be produced for providers who are signed up to give to the people they are working with, which they can keep and refer back to. The card is designed to be a simple reference point for people, giving an overview of what expectations people should have of their care providers and what to do if things go wrong or if they have concerns.

The Harwood Care and Support Charter is not designed to duplicate the work or role of the Care Quality Commission, the national independent regulator of all health and social care services in England. The County Council’s quality assurance team will spot check those care providers that are signed up to the care charter as part of their routine assessment work and if there were sufficient concerns about an organisation, it would be possible to remove them from being a signatory.

Now that the introduction of the charter has been approved by councillors, work will now start to produce online and hard copy versions of it, and the hard copy leaflet will be made available in key locations such as libraries and GP surgeries.

Anyone interested in finding out more about the Harwood Care and Support Charter, including care providers who want to find out more about becoming a signatory, should contact Catherine McWalter, Head of Quality Assurance in Norfolk County Council’s Community Services department, by emailing catherine.mcwalter@norfolk.gov.uk or by ringing  0344 800 8020 .