One of the strangest things for me about writing a blog (perhaps because I’m still fairly new to it) is that while it almost feels as if I’m writing a letter, you have no idea who you’re sending that letter to.
Someone asked me recently if I have someone in my mind when I’m writing, who the “typical reader” of my blog is and the answer is no. From the feedback I’ve received I’ve realised that they are all sorts of people. Yes, some of them are involved in disability in some way, but a lot aren’t. In fact I find the variety of my reader base fascinating and it keeps me on my toes, stops me from being complacent. It reminds me that I can’t get away with just writing letters to myself!
In spite of this I have never really imagined that anyone with any degree of “power” would be reading my blog. To put it bluntly, I thought they had better things to do. But apparently, someone, somewhere who has the power to make change for the better is reading my blog. I think that is excellent news.
On Friday 21 August I wrote “Holes in the Net” https://justicefornico.org/2015/08/21/a-week-of-blogs-holes-in-the-net/ and on Monday 24 August I received an invitation from the CQC to meet with them. More correctly I received an email from Andrea Sutcliffe’s PA, (Chief Inspector of Adult Social Care) inviting me to meet with Andrea Sutcliffe and the CQC’s Head of Policy Frances Smethurst.
“Well, blow me down, I didn’t see that one coming” is what I thought (feel free to slightly adjust that statement so it uses language more typical to me if you prefer).
Andrea Sutcliffe is a very busy woman. Unsurprisingly. She therefore can’t meet me until October and the only date we all had free was 29 October, so that’s when we’ll be meeting. I’m really pleased to have this opportunity to see her and talk with her, though I suspect my real role in the meeting will be to listen and learn.
I don’t think for one moment that they’re going to turn round to me and say “because of your blog we’ve decided to completely change our policy and from now on we’ll be inspecting every supported living home”. The reality is that this will be at best, the first in a series of meetings as she tries to get to grips with this terrible gap in the law. Right now no-one is going to want to make any kind of changes to what the CQC can do and where they can inspect if it’s going to cost more money (which I suspect it would), but I’m still hoping that we’ll be able to have a acknowledging this need for change and talk together about some viable possibilities for how it could happen.
Worst case scenario is that this is just a PR exercise designed to keep me quiet and them looking as if they are the good guys. But really, I don’t think it is this at all.
So I’m going to go to see them. I’m going to listen to what they have to say and I’ll take lots of notes. I’m sure I have a very great deal to learn. As I have to now presume that someone at the CQC will be reading this, they’ll know in advance now exactly what I’m hoping for from this meeting!
I don’t want to hope for too much, but I know that between now and the end of October, there will be supported living homes in which very bad things are happening and people in them desperately in need of help. So ultimately that’s why I’m going.
As they say, “mighty oaks from little acorns grow”.