Who better to check the quality of services and supports than people who use them? Since 2002, we have been supporting people with learning disabilities to check the quality of services. We expanded our work in 2017, to include people with mental health difficulties. This work not only improves people’s lives, but also creates paid employment for individuals.

Quality of Life Standards

Our quality checking team uses the Quality of Life Standards to measure how a service enables an individual to have good quality of life. These standards, launched by Care Minister Norman Lamb in June 2014, aim to raise people’s expectations about what a good quality of life really means. The standards have been written by over 650 children, young people and adults with learning disabilities and autism, in partnership with their peers with physical disabilities and mental health difficulties.

The standards focus on:

  • Equal citizenship The standards are based on a model of equal citizenship where disabled people are seen and respected as equal citizens in society, being integrated into the community as active participants.
  • Personalisation The standards are not a set of service standards; they are based on the assumption that people decide what support they need to be independent, who will provide that support, and where and when that support will be provided so it is timely and meets their particular needs.

 Our team uses the standards for checking different services including:

  • where people live (in their own tenancy, a residential or nursing home)
  • short breaks services
  • day services

Association of Quality Checkers

Changing Our Lives is a founding member of the Association of Quality Checkers. This national association brings together quality checking organisations from England, Scotland and Wales with the aim of promoting quality checking by people who use services.

Checking the quality of health services

Our team of people with lived experience also check the quality of patient experience in a range of NHS settings including GP practices, general hospitals, mental health hospitals, dentists and pharmacies. The team uses the Quality of Health Principles to carry out these checks.

Working with NHS England and self-advocacy organisations, we are working on a national quality checking toolkit which will enable people with learning disabilities to check the quality of local health services.

Checking the quality of mental health services

The Mental Health People’s Parliament in Sandwell has written a set of Quality of Life Mental Health Standards that relate directly to the support people receive from mental health services. These standards were launched by Norman Lamb in October 2017, and are being trialled across 10 care homes from November 2017-March 2018.

Care Quality Commission (CQC) Experts by Experience

Working as part of the Choice Support Consortium, we recruit and support disabled people and people with mental health difficulties in the CQC Expert by Experience role.

If you would like to know more about our approach to quality checking or you know someone who might be interested in this work, email us at [email protected] or ring us on 0300 302 0770.