National Care Standards: Housing Support Services

National Care Standards Housing Support Services Edition

1-4 Before using the service

1 Informing and deciding
2 Your legal rights
3 Management and staffing arrangements
4 Housing support planning

Before using the service

Introduction to standards 1 to 4

Standards in this section are grouped around those aspects of the service that are in place before you use the service, which you will use to make a judgement about how the service will improve your quality of life.

Informing and deciding

You must have proper information to help you reach a decision. You can expect it to be up to date and reliable, in a format and language that you can easily understand and keep. Information about the services should be backed up by details of management and staffing, to give you confidence that the service will meet your housing support needs.

Your legal rights

The principle of safety highlights how important it is for you to feel safe wherever you live. You must be confident that the service is managed properly in line with relevant legislation and guidelines. You must know what would happen in an emergency or if the housing support service was to close.

Management and staffing arrangements

The standards in this section reflect the importance of knowing that the people who are responsible for your housing support have all the necessary experience, skills and training to meet your needs. If they are to provide you with the best possible service, they must be familiar with all the current good practice guidance. They must be able to put the guidance into practice.

Because your needs may change over time, the provider must make sure that the management and staffing arrangements can always meet these needs. This is reflected in the standards. They do not set exact requirements about the number and skills mix of the staff but make it clear that the service must always meet the needs of the people using it.

Housing support planning

The way in which the housing support service is provided should be in keeping with your needs and should promote your independence. For some people the service will provide little more than background support while for other people it will offer greater assistance. You can expect that your personal plan will reflect the level of support you need and that it will change as your need for housing support changes.

Informing and deciding

Standard 1
You have all the information you need to help you decide about using the service.

1 You have an introductory pack which clearly explains how the service works. Everything is written in plain English or in a language and format that is suitable for you. It should include:

  • the housing support service brochure;
  • how to use the service;
  • any charges for the service, what these are and to whom you should pay them;
  • what is available in the housing support service;
  • how the quality of housing support service is monitored;
  • the complaints procedure;
  • a statement of your rights and responsibilities as a person who uses the housing support service;
  • policies and procedures for managing risk and recording and reporting accidents and incidents;
  • the relevant policies and procedures of the housing support service; and
  • the most recent Care Commission inspection report.

2 If you agree, your family, carer, friends, staff and managers will be involved in discussions with you.

Your legal rights

Standard 2
You will receive a written agreement which clearly defines the service that will be provided to meet your needs. This will set out the terms and conditions for receiving the service, and arrangements for changing or ending the agreement.

1 You will have a copy of this written agreement in a format that you can understand.

2 You will be able to look at the Care Commission's inspection reports that relate to the housing support service.

Management and staffing arrangements

Standard 3
You experience good quality housing support. This is provided by management and staff whose professional training and expertise allow them to meet your needs. The service operates in line with all applicable legal requirements and best-practice guidelines.

1 You can be assured that the provider has policies and procedures which cover all legal requirements, including:

  • staffing and training;
  • 'whistle-blowing';
  • managing risk; and
  • proper record-keeping, including recording incidents and complaints.

2 You can be confident that staff know how to put these policies and procedures into practice. They have regular training to review this and to learn about new guidance.

3 You can be confident that the staff providing your housing support have the knowledge and skills gained from the experience of working with people whose needs are similar to yours. If they are new staff, they are being helped to get this experience as part of a planned training programme.

4 You can be confident that all the staff use methods that reflect up to date knowledge and best practice guidance, and that the management is continuously striving to improve practice.

5 You know that the provider's staff and managers are all recruited and selected through a process which includes:

  • taking up references;
  • criminal records checks where required; and
  • cross-reference to the registers of the Scottish Social Services Council, the United Kingdom Central Council for Nurses, Midwives and Health Visitors ( UKCC), or other professional organisations, where appropriate.

6 You can be confident that at all times the number of staff who are trained and who have the necessary skills will be sufficient to meet your housing support needs. The levels are agreed between the Care Commission and the provider.

7 You know that the service has a staff development strategy and an effective yearly training plan for all its staff.

8 You know that whenever staff are involved in any financial transaction, it will be carefully recorded. This will be done in a way that can be checked by the Care Commission.

Housing support planning

Standard 4
You will be fully involved in developing your personal plan and in any later reviews. You will receive copies of these that have been signed and dated by the housing support service provider.

1 Your personal plan will set out the way the service is shaped to meet your needs.

2 Your personal plan will contain information about:

  • what you prefer to be called;
  • who should be involved in reviewing of your care;
  • any special communication needs you may have;
  • what communication arrangements need to be put in place if your first language is not English;
  • any housing support you need to help you with financial or administrative arrangements;
  • when, and in what circumstances, friends, relatives and carers will be contacted;
  • which other services must be contacted if there is an important change in your health or personal circumstances;
  • an independent person to contact if you want to make a complaint or raise a concern;
  • who else is contributing to your support and care; and
  • when the housing support is provided and who provides it.

3 You know how to change your personal plan for either planned or unplanned events (for example, going to hospital, or on holiday, or on a day out), or how to end your housing support service.

4 You can be confident the housing support service provider will check with you regularly (within three months of the service starting and at least once a year after that) that the service meets your needs that are identified in your personal plan.

5 You are told about any unexpected changes to your housing support as soon as possible.

6 You know about any changes to charges and how and when these will happen.

7 You know how to contact the housing support service provider if your housing support worker does not appear when you are expecting her or him.

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