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Organisations have legal and statutory duties to ensure that children, young people and adults have equal access to services. This means providing specific support to people and families to ensure they are not disadvantaged by issues relating to disability. These simple principles can help providers meet their duties and improve how they deal with feedback, concerns and complaints in health care, social care and education for autistic people, people with a learning disability and families:
- The organisation asks people about their experiences and makes it easy for people to do this.
- The organisation makes sure that the person, their family or advocate know how to give feedback, raise a concern and make a complaint.
- People feel able to speak up when they have feedback, a concern or complaint.
- Everyone knows when a concern or complaint is a safeguarding or a criminal issue, and what must happen.
- The organisation really listens to what has been said and is not defensive.
- The organisation and staff have the skills to listen and understand what it feels like for the person.
- The organisation does something positive about it in good time and tells the person what they are doing to put it right.
- The organisation learns from the feedback, concern or complaint and changes things so the service can improve.
- The organisation improves its services by working with the people that use them, listening to and learning from people’s experiences.
There is a range of Ask Listen Do resources for anyone who handles feedback, concerns and complaints. These resources help providers understand the issues that autistic people, people with a learning disability and families face. They also offer practical advice which can be used in staff training, for example, to understand more about reasonable adjustments and the difference they can make.
- NHS England has worked with Speakup self-advocates on a range of information for use by autistic people and people with a learning disability. This includes ‘top tips’ booklets and two ‘universal’ feedback, concerns and complaints form which organisations can adapt for their own use. One is an easy read form designed with people with a learning disability, the other has been designed by and for autistic people.
- We have also worked with our partners to produce an information and training booklet that can be used by health, social care and education organisations. This booklet covers legal obligations and good practice across health, social care and education. As well as practical information and advice about how best to support people and families, the booklet outlines how organisations can drive cultural change in this area.
- Families and paid carers have worked with NHS England to produce a booklet offering advice and information for carers.
- The Ask Listen Do training film for health, social care and education organisations and practitioners is a short and enjoyable introduction to the topic. It provides an insight into the issues faced and how for example reasonable adjustments can help. Essential viewing for anyone who handles feedback, concerns and complaints.
Ask Listen Do film for health, social care and education organisations and practitioners
We have produced an awareness raising film for health, social care and education organisations and practitioners which will make giving feedback, concerns and complaints easier for people with a learning disability, autistic people, their families and carers.
There is also an easy read leaflet about the Ask, Listen, Do project and its aims.
How can you get involved?
Organisations are asked to support the principles of Ask Listen Do in the following ways:
- to improve staff awareness of the additional difficulties people can face in giving feedback, raising concerns and making complaints and to implement training to address this through, for examples, the use of specific reasonable adjustments
- to involve people and families locally and nationally in considering how your own can improve
- and to make this clear in complaints literature and on websites, if possible referencing the Ask Listen Do project.
Here are some blogs written by people with first-hand experiences of the challenges faced giving feedback, raising concerns and making complaints across education, health and social care and also some solutions about how to make conversations count between people and professionals.
- Paula McGowan: Ask Listen Do: Oliver’s Story
- Simon Knight: Working together to help children
- Ted Goodman: Putting together two views to get the whole picture
- Mary Busk: Staying healthy and connected when caring for someone with learning disability and autism
The Ask Listen Do project is supported by:
- Association of Directors of Adult Social Services
- Care Quality Commission
- Department for Education
- Department for Health and Social Care
- Inclusion East CIC
- Local Government Association
- Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman
- NHS England Customer Contact Centre
- NHS England Improving Health and Quality Team
- NHS England Public and Participation Group
- NHS England Specialised Commissioning North
- NHS Improvement
- Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman
Ask, Listen, Do complements the cross-system Quality Matters initiative aimed at improving the quality of adult social care, in particular through its work to improve feedback, concerns and compliments processes.
The following organisations have agreed to pilot the principles of Ask Listen Do in the following ways:
NHS England Customer Contact Centre
The Customer Contact Centre is actively involved in shaping the Ask Listen Do project and have applied the principles to its own work. Staff have advised on and taken part in two new films that are in production. One is for complaints handlers across education, health and social care and the other is for people with a learning disability, autistic people, families and carers.
Barts Health NHS Trust
This project is about working with families of children and young people with a learning disability and autistic people to address their top three priority areas for improving access to and experiences of health services in local acute hospitals.
Whole School SEND
The Whole School SEND project is about enabling conversations between families and schools, with sampled questions for families to use to support this, to improve learning and life outcomes for children and young people with a learning disability and autistic people and wider SEND.
St Andrews Healthcare
This project is seeking to get feedback from people living within their Mansfield site on psychotropic medication use. This feedback will then be used to design an Ask Listen Do project which they will measure the success of later in the year.
Hertfordshire County Council
Hertfordshire have identified that Ask Listen Do can be used to support a more listening and learning culture with families. They have identified Ask Listen Do champions in education, health and social care services to help lead and bring about a change in culture so that they speak to, listen to, learn from and act on what families say.
Dimensions are working to incorporate Ask Listen Do principles into their new feedback and complaints policy. Dimensions is a voluntary sector provider of personalised social care services for people with learning disabilities and autism, including challenging behaviour and complex needs.