‘Huggard is a single team seeking to support clients to sustain independent living. This is the collective goal to which all staff and trustees should subscribe’.
To reach this goal with maximum effectiveness we need to work as a team, supporting each other to maximise the impact that we have on clients. As such when undertaking work it is important to think about the consequences on actions on staff, and clients. For example:
If a client’s enquiry is simple and immediately addressable do they need to be referred back to a key worker or can it be addressed at the point of contact i.e. in the Day Centre?
If you are working in a shared environment be mindful of your actions on colleagues – e.g. moving equipment and leaving work areas tidy.
Can you support your colleagues to maximise the impact that they have on client engagement and support
When working with clients you should be careful to uphold the work of other staff and not to undermine decisions that have been previously made or support given
3. UNDERSTANDING WHERE PEOPLE’S ROLES FIT INTO THE TEAM STRUCTURE
This is key to generating a team ethos. Team members need to take time to understand how their role fits in with the roles of peers. It is important that the personal understanding of the responsibilities and remit of a role meets the expectation of colleagues. Many of the clients at Huggard should benefit from support from a wide portfolio of staff members. This means for example:
Night staff are in a position to offer support to clients and address immediate needs despite the fact that that client may have a key worker
Key workers are in a position to offer advocacy services, support clients to attend external drug and alcohol support services accessing in-house specialist support as and when required.
Make sure that you:
- Know your job description and ensure that it reflects your role
- Understand colleagues roles within the organisation
- If there are apparent areas of overlap of provision, or areas where there is a gap in provision, work with colleagues to address these
- Support clients – even if it’s not in your role description can you address an issue now to stop it escalating; or is addressing the issue as easy as referring it to a colleague?
- Open communication with colleagues is encouraged to create an understanding of how we can improve the way we work and support clients
- We all work as a team to the benefit of our clients – and whilst we all have individual roles, we shouldn’t avoid tasks that will improve the life-chances of clients
4. CLIENT INVOLVEMENT IN ORGANISATIONAL DECISIONS
A formal client participation strategy is explored in a separate section within this toolkit, but needs to become a cross- cutting theme to all that we do.
This includes the use of formal methods, along with the need to offer opportunities for clients to evaluate services as part of an on-going process. Equally important is the need to build informal relationships with clients that enable feedback.
Tools for Participation Include:
- Service user forums and client surveys
- Open and honest communication
- A clear expectation of clients responsibility
- Maintaining professional boundaries when working with clients
- Providing fun, engaging and relevant activities
‘It is important for it to become second nature to always ask clients what they want’.