The company employed by the care watchdog to find

first_imgThe company employed by the care watchdog to find service-users to help inspect residential homes and hospitals is failing to make the most basic background checks on its recruits, undercover journalists have discovered.The two reporters had been told of concerns about sloppy recruitment methods used by Remploy, the former government-run company now mostly owned by the discredited US outsourcing giant Maximus.To investigate those concerns, they applied to Remploy to become Experts by Experience (ExE), disabled people and others who have previously used care or health services and are paid to accompany Care Quality Commission (CQC) inspectors on their inspections of hospitals, health centres, nursing homes, day centres and homecare providers.In 2015, Remploy won three of four regional contracts to run the programme, covering the south and north of England, and London. CQC has recently begun the process of retendering the four contracts for another three years.But the two journalists were astonished at how easy it was to secure a position as a Remploy ExE, and neither of them was asked to provide contact details for previous employers or personal contacts who could vouch for them.Although Remploy carried out checks on their criminal records through the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS), no other checks were conducted into their backgrounds, and there were no face-to-face interviews.Both say they were accepted onto the programme after a 10-minute phone conversation.They believe Remploy’s casual approach to safety exposes service-users in the care settings inspected by CQC to potential harm, and risks undermining a valuable programme that has previously been praised for giving disabled people and others with lived experience of care a vital role in regulating and inspecting service-providers.One of the journalists told Disability News Service (DNS): “Other than a DBS check, no one has checked that I have had any personal experience in mental health services.”The other said: “It’s pretty shocking. They are taking people on board without checking whether they are in any way appropriate for the job.”But the failure to even ask for references – they both used their real names in their applications – was not their only concern.Both attended one-day training sessions, only to be appalled by the quality of what was provided.The freelance trainer who ran one of the sessions admitted he had never set foot in a care home and had no experience of the industry, and he was unable to answer simple questions about the way the scheme operated.One of the journalists said: “Overall the training was unclear, uninformative and has not left me confident to take part in an ExE inspection.“The training session was confusing, scripted and many questions asked were left unanswered.“I believe I could have read through the handout and slide shows and Googled the ExE role in my own time and would have been equally as ill-prepared for the role.”She added: “I do not regard myself as an expert, nor has the training given me the confidence to call myself an ‘expert’.”The other undercover journalist said: “The guy training us admitted that he had never been an Expert by Experience, and he had no clinical knowledge.“The training was based on a PowerPoint presentation and a pamphlet. It was utterly shocking.”Both turned down the opportunity of working for Remploy after attending the training sessions.In contrast to Remploy, the charity Choice Support, which heads the consortium that runs the Experts by Experience programme in the central region of England, carries out face-to-face interviews for those shortlisted for ExE roles, and obtains references for those successful at interview, completing DBS checks before a role is offered formally.Choice Support’s training package is carried out by trainers – including key members of the consortium, such as its national lead, Kim Arnold – who have “detailed knowledge of the industry as well as personal experience of using the services”.Claire Bolderson, a former ExE, now campaigns for improvements to the way Remploy runs the programme and to the pay ExEs receive.She has exchanged emails with CQC’s head of engagement, Chris Day, who admitted that Remploy did not ask for references for its new recruits.In an email seen by DNS, Day told Bolderson: “Remploy has assured CQC that it carries out robust screening of potential experts prior to their deployment on inspections, where they are asked to provide a detailed overview of their personal or family caring responsibilities, experience of team working and report writing experience.“As part of the screening process Remploy carries out DBS checks on all potential experts, and risk assessments where appropriate, as a result of these. “Remploy does not take up personal or professional references as part of its contractual obligations for recruitment of ExE.”Bolderson replied: “I am, to be quite blunt, stunned by your acceptance of Remploy’s failure to ask for personal or professional references when recruiting new Experts.“The ‘robust screening’ of which you have been assured consists of asking potential recruits, in a telephone conversation, about their experience largely as users of regulated services.“There is no process for establishing whether that person is telling the truth.“There is no way of verifying whether they have any of the experience they claim.“In short, Remploy simply accepts the potential recruit’s word for it.“That is hardly ‘robust screening’.“A DBS check is of course an important legal requirement. But it tells Remploy only whether a person has ever been caught and successfully prosecuted, not that they have relevant experience and are caring, responsible and capable individuals.”In a statement, a CQC spokesman repeated the three paragraphs above from Chris Day’s email.He added: “Remploy has redesigned its face-to-face and on-line training based on feedback from both CQC and ExE.“They continually evaluate and review their training and its quality. Recent independent survey results showed an improvement in the satisfaction rates of ExE taking part in training from 65 per cent in September 2016 to 82 per cent in January 2017.“Remploy will continue to work with CQC to update and improve the quality of training and is in the process of implementing a Learner Management System with access to a broader range of training for its Experts by Experience.”A Remploy spokesman said: “We are confident that our recruitment and training process ensures that individuals are well prepared for their roles as Experts by Experience (ExEs).”He said this was backed up by the most recent survey of ExEs, carried out in August, which found 92 per cent rated their first contact with the programme as good or satisfactory; 85 per cent said the recruitment process was good or satisfactory; and 83 per cent found the effectiveness of their training to be good or satisfactory.And he said that 88 per cent stated that “the effectiveness of the communication and information about the roles of the Expert and Inspector was good or satisfactory [in] preparing them for an Inspection”.He said: “These figures have increased each year that we have delivered the programme, reflecting the continuous improvement Remploy is committed to putting in place.“We have lengthy conversations with all potential ExEs to gauge their experience of, and engagement with, health and care services prior to providing training.“All potential Experts by Experience also undergo required criminal background checks.”He refused to comment on why Remploy did not request or take up references.Bolderson and other current and former ExEs have repeatedly raised concerns about the quality of the service provided by Remploy.Earlier this year, DNS reported how disabled people working as ExEs for Remploy were refused support workers, while one was bullied into resigning.Internal reports secured by DNS showed how CQC was forced to write “formally” to Remploy three times over concerns about the way it was running the ExE programme, while a CQC report in May 2016 found there had been “multiple issues with Remploy’s performance to date”.When CQC was asked about the concerns earlier this year, it said there had been a significant improvement in Remploy’s performance since 2016, but these latest revelations cast doubt on that claim.There are also continuing concerns over Remploy’s decision to pay its ExEs just over £9 an hour in basic pay (£10 in London), compared with rates of £15 an hour for those employed by the Choice Support consortium.Remploy was heavily criticised for slashing the pay of ExEs when it took over the contract.The latest criticisms of Remploy are also likely to alarm disabled people in Wales, where the company has been awarded a contract by the Department for Work and Pensions to provide employment support services under its new Health and Work programme.Bolderson told DNS: “It’s increasingly obvious that Remploy are incredibly good at pulling the wool over the CQC’s eyes, which raises some serious questions about the CQC as an effective regulator.”last_img read more

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THE lads awoke up a bit sore and delighted to have

first_imgTHE lads awoke up a bit sore and delighted to have gone four games undefeated which as you will agree is a fantastic achievement, writes Mike Rush.As a special treat the lads and staff got the opportunity to undertake white water rafting once again with the surplus money and once again to a man we all enjoyed the experience.I must however admit the guides on the course need to understand rafting as we spent more time out of the boat than in it.Following a shopping trip round the rocks while I looked for the good lady wife (Kirsty), the kids Lizzy and Alanah and the rest of the extended family… the famous UGG boots… the gang headed off to undertake the Bridge Climb.The climb is always the highlight of the trip and again all concerned loved the experience and some even went to describe it as the best thing they had ever done.A special mention needs to go Nathan Stupski and Matt Wood who overcame their fear of heights to undertake the activity.Just to go to show the parents are as good as the kids for common sense here’s one from Alex Clare’s mum (Kim Clare):Derek Traynor asked: “Did you enjoy the whale watching?” Kim replies: “It wasn’t very good,” Derek then asked: “Where did you go to watch them?” (meaning off Manly or Bondi etc) Kim replies: “The Ocean”I want to take this opportunity to thanks all the players for their effort, attitude and commitment to the trip and congratulate them all on unbeaten trip.I would also like to thank the volunteers who give up their time to make this trip happen and their hard work in raising £100,000.Many thanks, Derek, Paul, Leo, Killer, Mully, Eric F, Eric C, Tommy, Dec H, Neil, and the Physio Andy, also a thanks to those at home who have also helped along the way, Ian Talbot, Gordon Pennington (Saints Foundation), Glynn Walsh, Ross Mitchell, Mick Oxley, Ian Lomax, Geoff Cropper and all the sponsors who have helped over the past two years.I hope you have enjoyed the small notes back from Aussie and we look forward to catching up with all are loved ones on our return.Over and Out… Awards: James Tiley, Coaches Player of Tour.Adam Swift – Best BackPlayers Player – Dom SpeakmanGreg Richards – Best Forward.last_img read more

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SAINTS coach Mike Rush was lost for words after se

first_imgSAINTS coach Mike Rush was lost for words after seeing his side narrowly beat Widnes Vikings 40-38 in the fourth round of the Carnegie Challenge Cup.His side, who at one point lead 40-16 in the game, were caught napping in the final twenty minutes and it was only a miss kick from Patrick Ah Van in the last few minutes that separated the two teams.“In the last few minutes we were poor,” admitted the Acting Head Coach. “Going down to twelve men is the obvious answer (for the Widnes tries) I think we panicked a little bit so we’ve got to look at ourselves a little bit there. But having said that our kicking game went a little bit awash, maybe a few people tried to solve things amongst themselves rather than as a collective.”Despite the victory, Rush was not happy with the overall performance of his team: “We’ve got to get better than that, that’s not good enough.”His side were cruising late in the second half, but Widnes scoring 24 unanswered points meant a nervous ending for all involved.“24 points in front nobody should catch you because lets be fair if he (Ah Van) kicks the goal we go into golden point and they very nearly did catch us. Its’ a feeling of disappointment in the dressing room rather than relief to be honest “Rush did pay tribute to debutant Adam Swift who played despite the loss of his Grandfather, Harold Swift MBE, just hours before kick off: “Harold was not only a massive part of Adam’s life but he was a massive part of local rugby league in St Helens. He was chairman of Blackbrook, I played at Blackbrook for nearly 12 years and I’ve known Harold for 28 years, he was an absolute gentleman. It was a massive and a brave decision by Adam.“I wasn’t going to get into his mind to see how he was feeling, I spoke to both him and his father and both were insistent that he was playing and I thought the kid did fantastic today. He’s got super feet, a real athlete, if he keeps his feet on the floor and works hard then like a lot of young players at this club they’ll get their chance and he can go as far as he wants to go.”last_img read more

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The best defensive side in the competition will ta

first_imgThe best defensive side in the competition will take on the free scoring Tigers in a mouth-watering clash.For Justin Holbrook the game is just reward for the hard work and consistency of his side, especially over recent weeks.“When I came on board I thought if we could pull it all together and keep building then the group was as good as anyone,” he said. “The players needed some belief. They have found that and now have as good as chance as any going into the semi-finals.“It will be a tough game on Thursday and our defence will be tested. No one asks more questions than Cas and we have to be on our game the whole time.“If we slacken off for one play they will get us. We are the best defensive side in the comp; we have worked hard on that but we have to show it on Thursday.”Saints have beaten the Tigers twice this season and will go into the match as healthy as they have been all season.“We will go with the same 19,” Holbrook added. “As for the 17, I’m not sure yet. I’m aware I have made some changes over the last few weeks but I have always picked the best 17 to go out to try beat who we are playing.“If that means we make another couple of changes then so be it. Whoever is picked I’m sure they will do a good job and go out there to win.”One player heading into the game in form is Mark Percival – he is Saints’ top try and point’s scorer and was named in the Dream Team this week.“Percy can do things on the field that others can’t. As a fan he has the qualities you want to see. He still has a lot to improve on, of course, but he has the sort of things you want to see on the field. Congratulations to him.”Tickets for the clash remain on sale from the Ticket Office at the Totally Wicked Stadium, by calling 01744 455 052 or online here.last_img read more

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Last blast of summer Temperatures surpass records in Cape Fear

first_imgCFCC was recording a temperatures of 97 degrees in downtown Wilmington on Sept. 28, 2017 (Photo: Helen Holt/WWAY) WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Fall only officially started less than a week ago so it’s no surprise that it still feels more like summer out.High temperatures soared into the low to mid 90s this afternoon across southeastern North Carolina Thursday surpassing the record high for Wilmington.3 p.m. weather conditions recorded from the WWAY weather station in Wilmington.- Advertisement – Heat indices, actual temperature combined with relative humidity, were close to 100 degrees in many spots.The average high for September 28 is 80 degrees. The old record was 91 degrees set back in 1998.As of 3 p.m. the high temperatures in Wilmington was 94 degrees.Related Article: Drone video captures awe-inspiring view of fall colorsA cold front will arrive late Thursday dropping temperatures to more seasonable levels for the start of October.By the end of October, average high temperatures are in the low 70s with normal overnight lows near 50.Click here for your StormTrack3 forecast.last_img read more

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NHSO Man robs friends of Jim Beam calls grandma to pick him

first_img Sheriff’s Office Spokesman Lt. Jerry Brewer says Dunn took out a knife and demanded their bottle of Jim Beam and their cash. Brewer says the couple didn’t have cash on them, so Dunn took the alcohol and ran out of the truck.Dunn then allegedly ran up to the Porters Neck Country Store gas station and called his grandma to come pick him up.A deputy saw Dunn get into his grandma’s car and pulled them over.Related Article: WPD gets warrant for teen who hit Panera drive-thru menuDunn was taken into custody and charged with robbery with a dangerous weapon.He is in jail under a $50,000 bond. Justin Taylor Dunn (Photo: New Hanover Co. Sheriff’s Office) NEW HANOVER COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — A Pender County man is accused of robbing friends who gave him a ride to Wilmington.According to the New Hanover County Sheriff’s Office, Justin Taylor Dunn, 20, rode with a couple from Hampstead to New Hanover County. When they were on Porters Neck Road, he told them to pull onto Bray’s Drive.- Advertisement – last_img read more

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Deputies search for man accused of robbing Southport gas station

first_imgSheriff deputies are searching for man they say robbed a Southport gas station. (Photo: BCSO) SOUTHPORT, NC (WWAY) — Does this man look familiar? Brunswick County Sheriff’s Office is searching for him after they say he robbed a BP gas station on Southport-Supply Road in Southport.The robbery happened Saturday evening at approximately 8:30 p.m.The suspect is described as a white male, approximately 6’0” tall, wearing a short sleeve, dark blue t-shirt, tan pants, and a camouflage beanie. He also has a beard or facial hair.If you know any information, please contact the BCSO. 1 of 3last_img

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FEMA awards 17M to Boiling Spring Lakes for stormwater project

first_img The $1.7 million grant represents a federal share of the total project cost of $2,310,000. The remainder will come from non-federal sources.This grant is funded through FEMA’s Pre-Disaster Mitigation Grant Program, which provides funds to states, territories, federally-recognized tribes, and local communities for hazard mitigation planning and the implementation of all hazard mitigation projects prior to a disaster event. Federal Emergency Management (Photo: MGN Online) WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — The City of Boiling Spring Lakes will receive a large grant from FEMA to fund a spillway project for Allen Creek.The improvements will help protect the floodplain and surrounding properties and help mitigate erosion and flooding caused by the spillway at Sanford Dam.- Advertisement – last_img read more

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New Hanover County in need of foster grandparents

first_img To become a foster grandparent, you must be age 55 or older, meet income eligibility requirements, complete successful background checks and agree to volunteer at least 15 hours a week. (Photo: Pixabay) NEW HANOVER COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — New Hanover County is looking for volunteers to join their Foster Grandparent Program.Foster grandparent volunteers are assigned to a school and classroom to help children improve school readiness, skills, and confidence to succeed in life.- Advertisement – last_img

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Man accused of breaking into Tabor City home setting it on fire

first_imgJocquavius Quashean Gerald (Photo: Columbus Co. Sheriff’s Office) COLUMBUS COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — A Tabor City man is accused of breaking into a home and setting it on fire.Jocquavius Quashean Gerald, 20, is charged with 2nd degree arson and breaking or entering with the intent to commit a felony.- Advertisement – Columbus County Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Michele Tatum says deputies responded Monday night to 23 Stacey Lane in Tabor City in reference to a structure fire.The investigation revealed Gerald broke into the home and intentionally set it on fire.Gerald is being held under a $30,000 bond.Related Article: Illegal “night club” searched in Fair Blufflast_img

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