Delivering Excellence Through Assessment

Delivering Excellence Through Assessment. Knowledge plays a fundamental role in competence and we believe that checking knowledge is the starting point for quality care.

The Grey Matter Group (TGMG) are looking for a short term Technical Architect to help implement a series of technology changes that will embed and extend their sector leading expertise in learning and development software. Full details will follow next week; in the meantime if you or someone you know is interested in finding out more about this consultancy opportunity please contact us to register interest and request priority details. No agencies please.

The Grey Matter Group has been awarded a Skills for Care contract to undertake a project with Individual Employers to support them to access suitable learning and development initiatives for themselves and their Personal Assistants.

The project includes the following key elements:

  • Create a PA contextualised version of online assessments mapped against the Common Induction Standards through
  • Create a PA contextualised version of elearning modules mapped against the Common Induction Standards through Log on to Care.
  • Consult with Individual Employers and Personal Assistants to create suitable learning materials.
  • Work in partnership with User Led Organisations (ULO’s) and provide focus groups to share these resources.
  • Provide additional small focus groups with Individual Employers and Personal Assistants to explain the project and to support them to access these resources.
  • Provide 1:1 (or 1:2) face to face guided learning sessions with Individual Employers and Personal Assistants. Loan them an iPad or tablet with an internet connection. Show them how to use the technology and specifically the online learning resources we create as well as signpost to other useful resources. We plan to do this across the Thames Valley and Chilterns. Skills for Care are not able to fund iPads or tablets so we are seeking alternative funding for these – please advise if you can help.
  • Provide 1:1 (or 1:2) follow up sessions with Individual Employers and Personal Assistants to evaluate the project’s impact.
  • Produce a case study for Skills for Care and useful learning points from the project.
  • Provide 500 free user licenses for 12 months to the online assessments and elearning with monthly or annual subscription options for additional people to access these resources, and for on-going access beyond the first 12 months. We plan to offer these on a first come first served basis across the UK.
“The Grey Matter are excited to be working on this project. We are contributing additional free resources and would be extremely grateful for support from the sector to help us engage with Individual Employers/Personal Assistants and to promote this work through meetings and networks.”

For more information or to get involved please fill out the contact us form on (in the blue bar above)

It is time to move the 'call for action' away from training and time to talk about high quality learning – see Camilla Cavendish’s recent report.

People can attend training and be told what to do, but what we actually need is for people to demonstrate LEARNING; be competent, show they understand, apply their knowledge and positively impact the outcomes of the people they support.
Too many people talk about training and think it is something they attend or complete, and not enough talk about learning - which is something you do for yourself.
Which leads me to the NMTS (National Minimum Training Standards), which if you have not seen my linked in discussion are on hold until the autumn (see Skills for Care link on our facebook page).  Camilla Cavendish suggests that there should be a minimum standard that anyone working in care should meet.  Those of us that have been living on Mars since 2005 may have not have noticed, but the Common Induction Standards (CIS) were launched in 2005 and refreshed in 2010 and the TOPSS Induction and Foundation was in place before that.
There have been minimum standards for Care Staff for many years but whatever the standards become the most important thing is that CQC continue inspect in the way they outline in their 2013-16 strategy.  Asking the five questions that start with “is the service safe”, because in order to be safe the staff must put into practice what they have learnt.  The learning method is not important, but what they put into practice is.
The NMTS are essentially the CIS with the addition of Infection Control because they are designed to be used with HCA’s (Healthcare assistants).  So DoH, CQC, Skills for Health and Skills for Care when you officially launch the NMTS in the autumn, I implore you to change the name: make them the National Minimum Competency Standards (essentially what Camilla Cavendish means), because training is just a method for facilitating learning.
Learning is something that happens on a continuous basis, i.e. NOT every 12 months or every three years (or any other arbitrary timeframe), but EVERY DAY and if you record that continuous learning you will have plenty of evidence for CQC when they arrive.

When you were inspected by CSCI, they would check that 50% of staff had an NVQ2 and had a whole bunch training course certificates.  However they don't do that anymore - have a look at the CQC strategy for 2013 - 16, which states, that "they will observe care directly and talk to the people who use the service about their views and experiences of care"...

So why would you continue to generate lots of training course certificates, when CQC are going to ask your staff questions and observe their practice?  Why not ask your staff questions and generate evidence of their knowledge and then observe their practice (just as CQC are going to do) and join those two bits of evidence together?  In doing so you will have evidence of KNOWLEDGE and PRACTICE which is much more valuable than a piece of paper that states "attendance".

Why not make your learning relevant to the people you support, rather something that happens every 12 months or every 3 years, or any other arbitrary timeframe?  Make use of shadowing and mentoring and record the feedback from the people you support and the shadowers?   Learning is something that happens EVERY DAY, not once a year.
Visit to see how we have supported personal budget holders and local authorities alike, to save time, money and resources by not sending people on training courses, but positively impacting the quality of service delivered...

Apologies it has taken me a while to blog and update this page, we have been working hard to update the assessments and develop, but more about that in another post.

We are thrilled to share our newest case study - Ella's story, which can of course be downloaded from the case studies page

Ella shares how she uses our assessments to support her PA's to evidence their knowledge and practice, but also describes how the assessments supported her on her journey of learning as well.  My favourite part of the case study is when Sally says "there is no substitute for hands on learning"! 

The best thing about the case study is that we have played a role in positively impacting Ella and Ash's outcomes, because the services have been tailored to meet their needs, rather making sure that everyone has been on some arbitrary set of courses - I encourage you to check out Ella's perspective on that in the case study...


On the workshop at Skills for Care (Tavistock Square - London)

July 2nd - 9.30am

"Manage staff development and evidence competency to reduce training costs!"

Click on the pin to register your free place...

Apologies it has taken me so long to blog and update this page, we have been busy delivering our workshop program across England and Wales!

We are about to release the Autumn workshop program and have uploaded a page to the website that allows you register your free place via the map - just click on the pin and fill out the "register you free place" form.

Please share the link with your colleagues and networks because it gets updated on a regular basis!

More news to follow soon, on our newest case study and some exciting developments on new modules and assessments...

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