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It’s been a busy start to 2018

As part of TSA’s own transformation, Alyson announced in January the separation of all our standards activity from our membership services. We have created a new standards arm called TEC Quality and our goal is to show, beyond doubt, that the industry’s quality standards framework is independent and can be trusted by commissioners and public alike. As the interim chair of the new TEC Quality standards board, my role is to oversee the recruitment of a diverse team of non-executive directors and a new chair, all with strong track records. We need expertise in quality systems and we need the voice of lived experience to work with our executive team.

This change in the governance of QSF marks an important moment in TEC industry standards in the UK. It is a clear message to all four home nation governments and to the TEC sector that the industry will not be judge and jury in its own court when it comes to quality. There is no other quality mark for the TEC sector which has this level of independent oversight.

Building on work by Alyson with the Association of Ambulance Chief Executives (AACE) around response standards, safe 'hand-offs' and escalation between alarm call centres and ambulance services, we met with NHS England and agreed a number of steps to address ministerial concerns about safety.

Along with Alyson and other members of the team, I have been making the case to ministers and officials for the forthcoming green paper on care and support for older people to set out plans for stepping up the adoption of technology to increase productivity and improve the quality of care. Working with our partners at PA Consulting, I set up a successful workshop for the green paper team to learn about the service redesign-led approach to TEC adoption which TSA set out in our White Paper in 2016. Judging from the questions and discussion it proved a valuable day.

Another strand of our work has been to design and deliver a TECs taster day at the Royal College of Occupational Therapists (RCOT).  The event was oversubscribed and generated a lot of interest from OTs. We will be following this up with sessions at the RCOT Conference in Belfast later this year and ongoing collaboration in the meantime.

2018 is shaping up to be a year of opportunity for the TECs sector and TSA leadership. The recent National Audit Office (NAO) report on the social care workforce brought into sharp relief the chronic shortages, high vacancy and turnover rates that mark out care as a Cinderella role, and there is no Ball or handsome prince as compensation! New ways of working, more focus on early action and prevention must all form part of the answer.

The green paper in England and the Industrial Strategy Grand Challenges on Ageing and Artificial Intelligence (AI) offer the opportunity to tell our story about the difference TEC can make when it forms part of a thoughtful, service user informed redesign of services and care pathways and a determined move upstream to prevent and postpone the need for formal care downstream.

I look forward to working with TSA’s members on these issues throughout 2018.

Find out more about Paul Burstow’s role as TSA President here. Follow Paul on twitter @PaulBurstow

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