Back to London and the East region

Critical Friends

The regional leadership team wanted to make sure our plans and activities were meeting the needs of the people we support. So as part of the 2018/19 regional plan they decided to engage with a group of people we support and their families. It would be a two way process the planning thoughts and activities would be shared and feedback would be received. This became the ‘Critical Friends Project’.

We use a range of ways to gather feedback including:

  • Regional listening events where people we support and families tell us about the support we are providing and what’s working or not.
  • Working Together for Change days where managers share feedback on what’s working or not working from people’s reviews over the past year, and sessions with groups of managers and our support worker colleagues who also tell us what we are doing well and what we need to get better at.

All of this information is used to identify themes and actions that we hope will build on what we do well and address what we need to get better at in the year ahead.

Our ‘Critical Friends Group’, supported by Lucy Campbell, Operations Director, was formed in July 2018, and over the last year they have worked to agree how the group will work and how they will work with us as a leadership team to ‘critically’ review what we are doing and how we are performing against our plans.

One of our critical friends, Fran Kime said:

In September the group reviewed our progress against our 2018/19 plan and asked some challenging questions about some of the areas we were not doing so well at. Which was exactly what we wanted them to do.

Our Critical Friends

In December, the group joined the regional team for the first time, to review our draft plans for 2019/20 and again they asked lots of questions about what we were going to do and why. They gave us some real food for thought about what needed to be included and how families should be consulted and included in projects that will support our plans.

The regional leadership team all shared how much they had valued the inclusion of our critical friends and how important it was for us to be held to account by them as part of the closing round for the meeting.

Rosie Hatt, mother of a person we support told us: 

The group is currently made up of two family members, Rosie and Fran, and two people we support, Jordan and Amy. They want to use our next regional listening event to talk to more people about joining the group.