RSS Icon Industry News RSS Feed
News Archive
Welsh provider secures new status
WALES’ largest provider of support services for people with learning disabilities has achieved an internationally recognised Standard for the quality of its management processes 
Cartrefi Cymru, which employs 1,200 staff in 12 offices throughout Wales, recently achieved ISO 9001 status, which involves developing a management system that meets customers’ needs and expectations. 
While it is relatively common for firms in the manufacturing industry to hold the Standard, it is less widespread in the voluntary sector making Cartrefi Cymru’s success particularly significant. 
Achieving the Standard has enabled the firm to put in place a consistent management structure across all its offices that will benefit current staff, new staff and services users. 
Cartrefi Cymru has been supported and guided through the Standard process by the Wales Quality Centre, which works with enterprises from all sectors to improve every aspect of their operational practices using a range of business tools, models and initiatives. 
David Phillips, Wales Quality Centre chief executive, said: “We’re delighted that we’ve been able to assist Cartrefi Cymru to achieve ISO 9001. It will provide a stable foundation on which the organisation can further enhance its management structure for the benefit of the company, staff, and clients.” 
 The Wales Quality Centre assisted Cartrefi Cymru by carrying out a pre-assessment of its management systems and offering potential solutions in a number of areas. 
Margaret Greaney, Cartrefi Cymru development officer, added: “We already had a solid, effective management structure in place before we applied for ISO 9001. The Standard has enabled us to enhance our processes even further demonstrating our commitment to providing quality services to our clients. 
“It was important for us to develop a standardised, high quality management system that functions throughout all our offices Wales-wide. Alongside consistency across all operations we also needed to strike a balance between compliance and flexibility,” she added. 
Established in 1989 Cartrefi Cymru has expanded rapidly and now works in partnership with local authorities and housing associations across Wales to improve the quality of lives of people with learning disabilities. 

Consultation exercise is launched
A MAJOR consultation exercise aimed at carers and those who work with them has been launched by the Department of Health.  
The ‘New Deal for Carers’ is intended to be the largest ever assessment of carers’ needs and aims to ensure that their voices are heard.  
They will be asking questions about what would make a positive difference to and improve carers’ lives and responding to ideas from carers about changes that could be made.  
Ivan Lewis, Minister for Care Services, said: “Millions of people in this country give up a significant proportion of their time to care for a member of their family or friend who needs extra support. 
“They are remarkable people who have a right to expect a system of their side and a life of their own. 
“As we develop a new national strategy for carers it is essential our future goals are shaped by carers themselves and the organisations which support them to have a voice.”  
A website, The Ideas Tree, has been set up to allow carers to post a message, suggest ideas, read comments from others and give their opinions on developments.  
The site is due to be live until mid September and can be visited at 
Mr Lewis added: “This consultation is the most extensive ever with carers and I hope that they will feel able to contribute their experiences, hopes and fears.  
“This will enable us to make sure our plans are rooted in everyday realities.  
“It is true that there are no ‘magic wands’ or quick fix solutions, but by working together we can make a difference and improve many carers’ quality of life.” 

Association boss recognises 'amazing success story'
INDEPENDENT and voluntary sector homecare agencies have continued to meet the challenge of state-funded homecare being targeted at fewer households of increasingly dependent people. 
According to the latest data provided by the Government Statistical Service, the average number of hours of care per household has doubled since 1997, while the number of households has fallen. 
Using the latest figures from September 2006, total homecare purchased or provided by England’s local authorities increased by 4.5 per cent on the previous year, with the private and voluntary sectors now providing three?quarters of all homecare supplied by councils, compared to just 36.2 per cent a decade ago. 
Responding to the impact of continued concentration of care on the most physically dependent people in society, Colin Angel, head of policy at the domiciliary care sector’s representative association, the United Kingdom Homecare Association said: “We are deeply concerned that councils continue to exercise a downward pressure on charge rates, leaving homecare providers struggling to fund appropriate training, and pay wages that will attract a suitable workforce.” 
Today’s homecare workers now routinely meet the needs of extremely frail individuals with very complex needs, often assuming roles previously undertaken by district nurses.   
Mike Padgham, UKHCA’s chair, added: “The ability of independent and voluntary sector providers to increase their capacity has been an amazing success story.   
“However, councils have pushed cost savings from the independent sector to the limit.  A commitment from councils and national government to meet the true cost of highly complex care is overdue.  Without it there are serious doubts about the sector’s ability to meet demand for homecare services in the longer term.” 

Search on for the UK's most caring people
A NATIONAL campaign to find the UK’s most caring people has been launched by Powergen CaringEnergy. 
As part of its ‘We Care Awards’ Powergen CaringEnergy is seeking nominations for people whose good deeds, no matter how small, make a big difference to other peoples’ lives or the wider community in which they live. 
They might do the weekly shopping for a housebound person, take disadvantaged children out on day trips, organise events for the elderly or man a voluntary help line.  As long as you can demonstrate they deserve a ‘We Care Award’ then Powergen CaringEnergy would like to hear from you. 
In return for caring, one winner from each region will be pampered for a day when they are treated to a meal at a first class restaurant and presented with flowers and champagne, 
The ‘We Care Awards’ have been launched as part of a campaign to promote Powergen CaringEnergy, which aims to improve the energy efficiency and income of the homes of vulnerable customers. 
Powergen CaringEnergy’s Andy Burgess said:  “Our nominees don’t need to have climbed Mount Everest to win this award, they just have to be a caring individual who does the little things that can make a big difference to other peoples’ lives.  As a reward we want to pamper the winner and make a difference in their lives, even if it’s just for a day.” 
Powergen’s CaringEnergy scheme has been designed to support and protect vulnerable customers by improving the income and energy efficiency of their homes with a range of products which include free cavity wall and loft insulation.  
Under the scheme there are a range of measures available for Powergen customers which can be tailored depending on individual needs including: 
• Free energy efficiency advice and home energy audits; 
• Free low energy light bulbs to customers on qualifying income related and disability benefits; 
• Free Benefits Entitlement Check; 
• Registration for Powergen’s Priority Services Register; 
• Access to the Powergen Hardship Fund, which has been set up to give further support to Powergen customers who are on low income and who are facing financial difficulties. 
top of page