Key Achievements: What We Are Proud Of

“The COVID pandemic has been a very difficult time for us all, perhaps the worst crisis to ever hit social care. We’ve faced challenges and situations that have tested us, our families, and the people we care for as never before.”
Sharon Lowrie, Chief Executive.

Yet 2020/21 saw Be Caring rise to the challenge and come out stronger than ever before, both financially and as a place to work. This year for the first time, the essential role of carers was not only recognised by the people we support and their families, with hundreds of compliments received throughout the year; but by the nation as a whole and we are delighted to see our colleagues receive this long overdue recognition.

“‘Be Safe’ is one of our core values at Be Caring.  Since the COVID-19 pandemic, being safe has taken on a whole new meaning for us. Pre-COVID, our ‘safety’ message was very much focused on the safety of our customers. While risk assessment and mitigation plans were embedded for the personal safety of our colleagues, risk of infection was rarely an issue requiring more than basic handwashing procedures in most cases; aprons and gloves were already worn as standard during calls requiring personal care. From the early days of limited access to PPE, alongside the communication of ever-changing guidance to frontline teams, we are proud of how we have protected the vulnerable people in our care and our colleagues with effective adjustments to our working practices such as wearing masks at all calls and minimising contact.” 

Laura Mwamba, Director of Business Development and Innovation.

“Be Safe is a core value for Be Caring because fundamentally it’s about looking after our customers – our services users – and keeping them safe. Up until the COVID pandemic that really was the primary focus. But is also now very much about how we keep our colleagues safe in a way we never really had to think about before.”

In October, Be Caring was Highly Commended at the Business Culture Awards 2020 for ‘Culture in a Crisis’ due to our response to the pandemic. It was felt our ‘Be Safe’ value came to the fore as we rapidly implemented new processes and ways of working. Despite the apparent risks, the protection and support our colleagues received during the height of the pandemic meant almost 95% reported feeling safe at work. Our COVID rates among staff and people we care for have remained far lower than the national averages. We were also able to donate 26,000 masks to voluntary groups to help keep people safe in our communities.

As an employee-owned social enterprise, for the second year running, we have been able to reward colleagues financially – we allocated £344,165 to recognising and rewarding our people for their commitment to our customers.

We are proud to support our wider communities by employing and rewarding local people and investing in them through training and development. We actively encourage our colleagues to be the best they can be, and despite the challenges of the last year or so, have continue to support our people to pursue career ambitions beyond the roles we employ them to do.

During the year, our 800 colleagues maintained and delivered on all our contracts, providing almost one million hours of care to 2,339 people across Leeds, Manchester, Liverpool and Tyneside – an increase of 7% on the previous year. More than 95% of our staff were able to see a positive difference to the people they support and over 90% feel they can deliver the standards of care they would like (Colleague Survey, February 2021).  You can read more of our statistical achievements in ‘Our Year in Numbers’.

In our pursuit of sector-wide reform, we have been delighted to work with commissioning partners in Leeds this year, deliver care in a pilot scheme that allows us to pay colleagues in a different way, providing more stability and consistency that benefits both the Carer and Customer. You can read more about this in our Case Study: Customer-focussed, collaborative care.

Working for Be Caring means always going the extra mile, and being proud for doing so.  This year, an idea came from a Carers ‘group chat’ to create Winter Wellbeing packs for our Customers. They included some comfort treats, entertainment and a directory of local voluntary services they could access if they needed additional support.  These were well-received and we received lots of thanks from service users.

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