Flexi Coventry

Highlighting best practice as a representative in The Parliamentary Review

The ability to listen and learn from one another has always been vital in parliament, in business and in most aspects of daily life. But at this particular moment in time, as national and global events continue to reiterate, it is uncommonly crucial that we forge new channels of communication and reinforce existing ones. The following article from Flexi Coventry is an attempt to do just that. We would welcome your thoughts on this or any other Parliamentary Review article.


Managing Director FelixMarufu
and Registered Manager Loreen
Our desire was to establish
a service that was client
Flexi Coventry provide support to those with complex care
needs such as spinal or brain injuries. Originally focusing on
dementia, their model of incorporating families and spouses
into training programmes was so successful that they were
invited to expand. Currently, they are looking to expand further,
having been approached by CCGs in Yorkshire and the West
Midlands. Managing Director Felix Marufu explains the details
of their model and how they have achieved growth.
After working as a mental health nurse for 21 years, I established the company
in 2004 with my co-director, who had worked as a general nurse. Prior to this,
we had both been working in the NHS and had noticed a number of gaps over
which we had no control, which prevented the smooth running of our service. We
decided that the best way to address these gaps was to establish our own agency.
Our desire was to establish a service that was client centred, and we set about
doing this by focusing on the training of our staff and the establishment of a good
internal culture. We achieved this through staff inductions, development and a
rigorous recruitment process that only five per cent of applicants would pass. The
key metric for hiring staff was always whether I would be happy to let them look
after my own family. After securing contracts with the local Clinical Commissioning
Groups, we soon became very popular, largely because of the way we embraced
the families of our users. We ensure that any activity we arrange is effective for
both the individual and their family, and we never separate them when organising
excursions or holidays. This is unique to us.
»Managing Director:
»Registered Manager: Loreen
»Established in 2004, becoming
Flexi Coventry in 2012
»Based in Coventry
»Services: Complex needs care
»No. of employees: 98
Flexi Coventry
Highlighting best practice
Involving the families of our
When we were first established, we
were looking after users in care homes.
We were one of the first specialist care
agencies that specifically supported
those with dementia. Our training
was focused on how to support
families with dementia. For example,
we would involve the spouses of our
users in this training so that they were
always able to understand what was
going on. In 2012, Loreen Marufu
joined the organisation as a registered
manager bringing her general nursing
experience from the NHS. She drove
the organisation to even higher
standards and introduced us to
complex care as she had identified a
gap in this area and felt the need to
bridge it. As we became increasingly
popular, the CCG asked us to apply
our model to those with complex
care needs. This involves caring for
individuals returning home from an
intensive care unit, often with spinal
or brain injuries. We accepted and are
now the only agency in our local area
to perform this function.
Most organisations wait to be
inspected every so often by the CQC
or local authority but we maintain
our high standards through daily
inspections led by our deputy manager
and responsible person Jesman N
Muzemba, quality assurance manager,
senior staff, team leaders, service users
and their families. This has developed
consistency, constantly refreshing
care standards and our devotion to
Continual assessment and
This ethos is embedded into our
organisation through ongoing
assessment, training, supervision and
appraisals. We believe that strong
leadership defines our organisation, so
we have team leaders and senior staff
overseeing every package of care that
we deliver.
Our service users and their families
audit our performance in real time and
send through their assessments. This
is done on forms supplied by team
leaders or via a specific email address.
If there are any areas that require
improvement, we immediately remedy
this and report back to the client. Even
if we receive excellent feedback, we
still aim to improve by checking that
all of our service is up to standard. We
apply this learning to help us to plan
for training, supervision, appraisals or
one-to-one safeguarding meetings.
As we became more
popular, the CCG
requested us to provide
more home support
This has
standards and
our devotion
to our service
Our goal is to continually improve
our standards and embed them
into a culture of excellence. We also
endeavour to ensure transparency
from our senior leadership team. If a
mistake occurs, it is explained and used
as a learning opportunity. Everyone
makes mistakes, but it is how you learn
from them that is crucial.
Balancing our service and
One of the main challenges we face is
trying to maintain our high standard
of service while remaining financially
viable. Fulfilling the requirements of
our users is often impossible without
incurring losses. For one individual, we
incurred losses for three years, as we
were unable to increase our funding.
We were losing 85p an hour to care
for this user, but we did not stop, as
we are committed to those we care
for. Another problem we face is the
higher pay rates that are offered by
other local care agencies. We invest a
significant amount in the training of
our staff, so losing trained individuals,
and having to train their replacements,
only worsens these funding issues. We
often find, however, that employees
who leave often return quite quickly,
largely because of the way we value
and treat our staff. We receive a lot of
applications to join our service, but we
have always maintained that we want
to keep our service to a high standard
and thus not stretch ourselves too thin
or dilute our standards.
In my opinion, one of the ways this can
be solved is if local authorities allocate
funding based on the needs of the
service user. Around bank holidays,
we have to pay our staff double their
hourly rate, but this cost is not covered
by the CCG. There can also often be
delays in the payments we receive
from these groups, and we often have
to fight to get them to be paid. This
can result in people not turning up for
work because they cannot be paid and
could lead to families not receiving the
care they need or deserve.
Looking ahead, we are planning to
expand our service into other regions.
This will involve intensive training
of those who will be running these
additional departments. Our role will
be to travel between these locations
to provide support and check that
the systems are functioning. We have
received approaches to expand into
Yorkshire and the West Midlands, as
there are currently no complex needs
agencies operating there. Initially,
we are targeting expansion into
Birmingham, Yorkshire and Leicester.
We will then review this expansion
and assess its success. There is the
possibility of nationwide expansion,
but we must remain vigilant that we
do not dilute the standards of our
service. We have also been asked to
assist with care homes owned by the
Royal British Legion, which we view
as a great honour. By continuing
to provide our innovative model,
and ensuring we maintain our high
standards, we are confident that we
can expand our provision and deliver
a high standard of care to people who
need it.
We often find,
however, that
who leave
often return
quite quickly,
because of
the way we
value and
treat our staff
We embrace the families
of our service users


This article was sponsored by Flexi Coventry. The Parliamentary Review is wholly funded by the representatives who write for it.