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In August 2018 we told you that we are reviewing our post registration training and learning (PRTL) process. Here’s an update of the progress so far.

Our aim is to share learning, change cultures and give organisations the support and confidence  to test out new ways of doing things and to reflect on what has got in the way in the past.

SSSC learning and development advisers are providing support to registered workers by helping them to show how their learning is making a positive difference to the way they work and to the people they support and care for. We are focusing on linking their learning to the SSSC Code of Practice and the Health and Social Care Standards.

We have five different social service organisations helping us try out different methods of recording and reflecting on learning so we can see what works.

They are all at different stages of trying out the new approaches in the test sites.

Some people who are testing the new approaches told us how they are finding using them. 

Arlene Cattigan, Team Manager, Care Inspectorate

We have agreed to be part of the test sites and I wanted to share an approach to learning that is working well for us as a team. The key to developing our collective approach to team learning has been to build a strong, empowered and informed group who have a shared goal of learning and developing our knowledge. I have always encouraged staff to speak up, question and query information and that to do so is positive rather than being something to fear or be embarrassed by. For several years we have approached team meetings in an open and honest manner, sharing experiences, challenges and development, exploring how we can learn from each other and have group discussions about our expectations and how we might each approach situations differently.

We were asked to pilot a new system which is replacing our Performance Development Review System. One of our inspectors took on the role of facilitating this and along with the team agreed that using a floor book to capture our learning and progress would be an enjoyable and relevant way to record our development. We identified four key priorities as a team and then decided on which priority would be our first focus area. As the Health and Social Care Standards were new, we agreed they would be a good starting point for everyone. We recorded what we knew or didn’t know already, what we wanted to know and how we would find this information. Each team member takes responsibility for recording information at the team meeting and can add details to the book between meetings too.

As we learn and use the Standards more, the floor book has evolved and developed. We record short statements around practice discussions about specific situations and how we can, could and do deal with these, we reflect on the Standards and how we use them to support our work, how we each interpret them and utilise them in different situations. This helps us to work more consistently and collectively with the Standards and challenge our own and each other’s understanding and interpretation when they are used. We have witnessed the benefits to this as a team as we have gained in confidence as we use the Standards to inform our regulatory functions and support services. Participating in the learning activity has helped to raise our awareness of the Standards, which in turn enables us to better support services to understand and use the Standards to improve and develop the care they provide to people using services.

This is an exciting opportunity for The Mungo Foundation to work in partnership with the SSSC to help develop and inform new learning standards for the social service workforce in Scotland. We have four young people’s service staff teams involved.

Our organisation strives to support and develop our staff to be the very best they can be. By being involved in this pilot we can start working towards ensuring PRTL becomes part of everyday practice and by supporting staff to recognise the connection between their learning and how it impacts on the quality of support we provide.

Ian Spittal, Manager of Campus, Mungo Foundation

Working with the SSSC to test out new approaches to PRTL has allowed our staff the opportunity to step back and reflect on what some have historically perceived as a complicated, fearful task which they want to avoid. Being a part of the scheme is a very welcomed invitation and an opportunity to potentially influence future PRTL expectation not only for the Mungo Foundation and The Campus Project but the wider social care sector in general.

The support, encouragement and insight provided by SSSC staff has enabled us to discuss our own interpretations or understandings of PRTL and experiment with how we can reflect on and evidence our practice in a meaningful, familiar and realistic manner.

Our staff team have agreed and adopted an inclusive supportive model of reflection which has brought a sharper focus to the ‘who’ and the ‘why’ of what we do. This joint approach has reduced fears and anxieties and allowed individuals to discuss their understanding of PRTL in an honest and open manner.

This type of reflective thinking with wide parameters set for how we record and evidence our learning and put it into practice, has allowed us collectively to affirm and share our good practice as well as support each other in areas for developing our knowledge and understanding.

Una Munro, Deputy Chief Executive/Director of Operations, The Mungo Foundation

Changing perceptions, cultures or habits surrounding PRTL from one of uncertainty and possibly lacking in confidence to complete, will take commitment, time and energy from all project staff and a requirement for support from all staffing levels. However, initial project indicators suggest, with the right support structures and continued positive open communication between all parties in the pilot scheme, PRTL can become a natural part of our role within organisations and services.

Significant steps forward to accepting responsibility individually and collectively for our personal development are already underway in the project and hopefully our experiences and learning from the pilot scheme will provide some encouragement and examples for others within the social care sector in Scotland.

Ashley Torrie, Care Assistant, Lochbank House, Forfar

I’ve been a care assistant for 13 years. I took some time out to have family and when I came back to work I had to register with the SSSC and undertake an SVQ. It was a bit of a shock, scary and quite overwhelming. I was invited to attend a development day led by SSSC staff with colleagues from the other Kennedy Care Group Care Homes. This was a helpful day and provided an awareness of the importance of continuous professional learning. There were helpful discussions about how our learning links to the Health and Social Care Standards and the SSSC Code of Practice. I recently attended moving and assisting training and couldn’t believe how much things had changed. It made me see the importance of keeping up-to-date with my practice. If I hadn’t attended I would still be doing what I had learned many years ago and that was totally out of date. I have gained a better understanding of continuous professional learning and feel more confident. I am making myself available to mentor colleagues who ask for support with their PRTL reflective accounts. I am enjoying working with the SSSC, feel comfortable talking to them about what is working for us and what is not and making suggestions about different approaches that can help us. We are starting to think much more about group learning and what we can do together in order to learn from each other.

Next steps

We will continue to support the test sites over the coming months and carry out an evaluation of the findings by the end of March 2019.

In early 2019  we will consult with the social service sector to seek views on the new draft requirements which will include holding a series of events.