Practical Care

A Message from Lord Pickles and Lord Blunkett, followed by Practical Care's best practice article

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 Practical Care is an attempt to do just that. We would welcome your thoughts on this or any other Parliamentary Review article.

Blunkett signature Rt Hon The Lord David Blunkett
Pickles signature Rt Hon The Lord Eric Pickles

Highlighting best practice
Managing Director JohnChidiac
Our growth has been driven by a
dedicated and passionate team
Practical Care offer domiciliary care services in residential
settings and at the homes of their users. Managing
Director John Chidiac entered the sector in 2010, having
little experience in care. This has afforded him a unique
view of the current state of the sector, which he shares
TheParliamentary Review
. Explaining the foundational
principles of their service, John also calls for greater regulation
of social services and questions the burden currently placed on
I entered the sector nine years ago without any background in care. In those
years, with the help of a professional, dedicated and passionate team, we were
able to become a major player in the care sector within Barnet. We built our
reputation on delivering responsive and passionate care in the community. Being
an outsider, my focus was, and still is, on the end result: making sure each and
every service user gets the care they need. We make each service user feels that
the whole team, from carers to managers, are there for them. We go beyond
what is required in the care plan to make sure that vulnerable service users get
the help they require and the advice they need. This is essential to ensure that the
service user feels that they are a human being interacting with another human
being, not just an object.
However, being an outsider, the shock of learning how the care system works was
huge. You cannot apply the experience, know-how and logic that you learned from
over 30 years working in other businesses to the care sector.
»Managing Director: JohnChidiac
»Established in 2010
»Based in Whetstone
»Services: Domiciliary care
»No. of employees: 54
»No. of users: 105
Practical Care
It is understandable that care is
different, as it deals with vulnerable
people and therefore requires
different rules and regulations. The
main problem lies with these rules
and regulations: the way they are
implemented, the way they are
interpreted and the speed with which
they keep changing.
A focus on paperwork rather
than action
Often, these regulations focus on
paperwork and ticking boxes, placing
little or no importance on the desired
outcome: delivering a high standard
of care. The reason we hear of big
failures in care homes, where residents
are abused or mistreated, is because
the focus is on paperwork, rather
than what is done on the ground. The
system encourages care companies to
be more concerned about box ticking
and paperwork than the wellbeing
of the individual who needs care.
CQC inspectors are too focused
on the bureaucratic process, rather
No one can deny the importance of
having proper documentation in place,
but the focus should be proportionate,
balanced and equally applied to the
end result. This includes how care is
delivered to service users and how
they feel about their carers and the
way they are treated by the agency.
Inspectors can spend days going
through these documents before
picking a few clients, calling them and
speaking for only a couple of minutes
about how the service is delivered,
instead of spending equal time visiting,
engaging with and listening to those
service users. It would be far better
to learn first hand how the service is
delivered and then subsequently make
a judgement based on both the office
paperwork and the final outcome from
the clients’ perspectives.
Care agencies are required to collect
a large amount of information
for care plans. Care plans are big,
detailed and, in some areas, a cause
for concern. Much of the preparation
and assessment work needed to build
a care plan is left for care agencies
One of our daily
No one can
deny the
importance of
having proper
in place, but
the focus
should be
balanced and
equally applied
to the end
Highlighting best practice
to deal with. We are asked to put
together care plans that need to
include an increasingly large amount
of information about the service
user, including medical conditions
and the side effects of medication,
even though we are not medical
professionals. It takes a substantial
amount of time to get to know an
individual and their personal situation
and to plan the care they need.
Care agencies are required to research
the medical history of a client,
including the way each condition
impacts the client’s life and the
associated symptoms. Agencies then
have to explain to the carers what
needs to be done if and when those
symptoms occur. The same needs to
be done for any medications and their
side effects. Care agencies are not fully
qualified to deal with such medical
matters. They have to research each
condition and record the information
for the carers to follow. The danger
is that, to do so, care agencies are
relying on information that is in the
public domain, which may or may not
Care agencies: at the
forefront of the sector
Care agencies and care homes are
at the forefront of the care sector.
They go out and physically implement
and deliver the care plans devised
by local authorities, but they are the
least protected. They get blamed
for whatever goes wrong when
implementing and following support
plans that were devised by other
bodies: social services, the CCG and
others. Care agencies are constantly
inspected by social services and
In contrast, the main body responsible
for social care in local authorities, social
services, is not subject to any outside
supervision, inspection or monitoring.
This leaves a big gap in the care
sector’s monitoring system, whereby
the main body responsible for care in
the community is left unchecked and is
immune from any outside supervision
and oversight. Until social services are
inspected by outside bodies, mistakes
in the care sector will continue to
happen, and the least protected part
of the system, care agencies and care
homes, will continue to be blamed for
those mistakes. The real problems will
never be addressed and will resurface
again and again.
Three partners are involved in
providing care and support to an
individual. These are the NHS, social
services and care agencies. All three
are meant to work in tandem, each
playing a part in supporting each
person. Unfortunately, more and
more is being asked of private-sector
care agencies, which should not be in
our remit. We are made to shoulder
disproportionately more and more of
the financial burden and are often the
first to be blamed if things go wrong.
We are left to carry out numerous
extra tasks for our service users that
we are not paid for and that are often
not even acknowledged. If we are to
continue to provide the high level of
care we pride ourselves on, changes
are desperately needed to reform
Until social
services are
inspected by
outside bodies,
mistakes in the
care sector will
continue to
happen, and
the least
protected part
of the system,
care agencies
and care
homes, will
continue to be
blamed for
those mistakes
The team at work

This article was sponsored by Practical Care. The Parliamentary Review is wholly funded by the representatives who write for it. The publication in which this article originally appeared contained the following foreword from The Rt Hon Theresa May MP.

The Rt Hon Theresa May MP's Foreword For The Parliamentary Review

By The Rt Hon Theresa May MP

This foreword from the then Prime Minister appeared in the 2018/19 Parliamentary Review.

British politics provides ample material for analysis in the pages of The Parliamentary Review. For Her Majesty’s Government, our task in the year ahead is clear: to achieve the best Brexit deal for Britain and to carry on our work to build a more prosperous and united country – one that truly works for everyone. 

The right Brexit deal will not be sufficient on its own to secure a more prosperous future for Britain. We also need to ensure that our economy is ready for what tomorrow will bring. Our Modern Industrial Strategy is our plan to do that. It means Government stepping up to secure the foundations of our productivity: providing an education system that delivers the skills our economy needs, improving school standards and transforming technical education; delivering infrastructure for growth; ensuring people have the homes they need in the places they want to live. It is all about taking action for the long-term that will pay dividends in the future.

But it also goes beyond that. Government, the private sector and academia working together as strategic partners achieve far more than we could separately. That is why we have set an ambitious goal of lifting UK public and private research and development investment to 2.4 per cent of GDP by 2027. It is why we are developing four Grand Challenges, the big drivers of social and economic change in the world today: harnessing artificial intelligence and the data revolution; leading in changes to the future of mobility; meeting the challenges of our ageing society; and driving ahead the revolution in clean growth. By focusing our efforts on making the most of these areas of enormous potential, we can develop new exports, grow new industries and create more good jobs in every part of our country.

Years of hard work and sacrifice from the British people have got our deficit down by over three quarters. We are building on this success by taking a balanced approach to public spending. We are continuing to deal with our debts, so that our economy can remain strong and we can protect people’s jobs, and at the same time we are investing in vital public services, like our NHS. We have set out plans to increase NHS funding annually by an average by 3.4 percent in real terms: that is £394 million a week more. In return, the NHS will produce a ten-year plan, led by doctors and nurses, to eliminate waste and improve patient care.

I believe that Britain can look to the future with confidence. We are leaving the EU and setting a new course for prosperity as a global trading nation. We have a Modern Industrial Strategy that is strengthening the foundations of our economy and helping us to seize the opportunities of the future. We are investing in the public services we all rely on and helping them to grow and improve. Building on our country’s great strengths – our world-class universities and researchers, our excellent services sector, our cutting edge manufacturers, our vibrant creative industries, our dedicated public servants – we can look towards a new decade that is ripe with possibility. The government I lead is doing all it can to make that brighter future a reality for everyone in our country. 

British politics provides ample material for analysis in the pages of The Parliamentary Review 
The Rt Hon Theresa May MP
Prime Minister