Chief Executive’s report

By Sharon Lowrie

"After the most challenging year to ever hit the Social Care sector, Be Caring could not be more proud of our 800 colleagues who worked so hard throughout the pandemic and all they have achieved."

I do not believe any sector has been more adversely affected, but our staff has risen to the challenge, while at times risking their own lives before Personal Protective Equipment and vaccines were readily available. This was not just our frontline staff, but the back-office colleagues helping support people be the best they can be.

Over the course of the last twelve months, Be Caring has continued to work tirelessly; delivering on all our contracts, while protecting the people we care for and endeavouring to keep COVID rates low. Around 90% of our staff continued to work throughout the crisis looking after the vulnerable people in our communities and for that we are enormously grateful.

Despite the pandemic, Be Caring has demonstrated a second year of profitability, providing us with a foundation to invest in the future in areas of training and development, while recognising and financially rewarding the hard work and dedication of our staff.  We want our colleagues to feel they are part of something special and annual rewards and bonuses are just a small recognition for their contribution.

As the UK’s largest employee-owned provider of social care services in the home, we are not about making a profit or looking after shareholders, our reason for being is the people we employ and the people we care for. The money that comes into Be Caring is used to deliver the best possible standard of care to the people who use our services and is reinvested in the local economy.

Looking forward we believe our greatest challenges lie in the recruitment and retention of committed, quality staff when there are limited resources across the sector. We have some fantastic examples in our organisation demonstrating where getting the funding right through partnership and collaborative working with the commissioners not only provides better, more personalised quality care, but also allows our staff to be paid for the hours and work they do.

"We want all our services to be outstanding"

We recognise that the ambitious targets outlined in the last annual review have not been able to come to fruition due to the impact of the pandemic, and there are areas where we need to do better. We will not shy away from poor performance, we have ideas and ambition of how we want to enhance our quality and where we want to invest; ultimately, we want all our services to be outstanding. Where those areas are within our control, we intend to see significant improvements in the coming year focusing on improved transparency around performance and data; but where they are not, we will continue to collaborate with partners, building more effective relationships, and lobby on behalf of our staff and the people we care for.

"In addition to the fantastic work of our frontline staff, the outstanding leadership and pastoral care provided by the Senior Management Team undoubtedly made this possible. Huge numbers of hours worked above and beyond ensured that safe and effective care continued to be delivered even in the most challenging circumstances."

Whilst the day-to-day roles of our frontline staff provide excellent examples of care and dedication, we recognise we must do better to ensure this is supported with a robust governance structure. Over the last year we have made a number of improvements in terms of monitoring, development and risk assessment and will continue to build on these key areas. We have increased our accountability and resilience and will continue to track the progress of these changes as the year goes on.

With an ageing population and a move away from care homes and hospitals, with people wishing to remain in their own homes as long as possible, we remain committed to helping them be able to do so. In supporting these developments, we have become increasingly skilled as an organisation, however increased governance is required to meet these new levels of complexity.

Despite the challenges currently facing the entire sector and the backdrop of COVID-19, I have been delighted by the work and commitment I have seen in my organisation. The staff have an enormous amount to be proud of and going forward I promise this will not go unrecognised and we continue to reward and invest in your future.

Take a look at what we're proud of