Monthly Archives: June 2014


This Friday care homes across the UK will be opening their doors to the public for National Care Hope Open Day.  This excellent initiative gives the wider community an opportunity to take a look inside their local care home and see for themselves the wonderful care being provided for elderly people.  For the care homes it’s a chance to counteract the tidal wave of negative publicity surrounding the sector in recent years and build trust with the people living on their doorstep.  So how should the pubic evaluate their local care home?

As a layman it’s hard to know too much about the medical and nursing aspect of the home from a single visit but taking a closer look at the catering and housekeeping aspects of the home – criteria we focus on at the CAP Awards – can often tell you a great deal about that care home.

Here’s a simple guide to tell you a few things to look out for:

Housekeeping – cleaning

Is there any little debris i.e. insects in light covers? This shows attention to detail with regular cleaning of the most difficult areas to access.

Is there any dust/insects on the window frames behind curtains and window blinds?  This shows good cleaning practices and that items not readily in view are being cleaned.

Cleaning equipment. Are cloths, brushes, mops colour-coded for use in specific locations?  A chart may be visible to explain this.  This practice helps reduce the risk of cross-contamination.

Are the following clean? Corners at low level e.g. showers, general flooring, etc. and flooring around door frames i.e. particularly where the door hinges should be free from dust and debris. 

Toilets should be stocked with the necessary consumables i.e. hand soaps, loo paper, hand towels, etc.  Bins to not be over-flowing.


Any food items on display (fruit, biscuits) should be in prime condition. Fruit should not be bruised and biscuits should not be broken or covered in crumbs. This shows attention to detail.

Dining fixtures and fittings should be in good order i.e. cutlery clean, place mats clean and in good condition, dining room chairs clean i.e. the underside of the frame and arms are not sticky. 

The weekly menu should be available with at least the daily menu on display.  The menu should be focused on home-made dishes with at least one fresh vegetable per service.

Good practice is for verbal, written and electronic feedback on the food and beverage on offer.  All feedback should be evidenced with a summary plus actions taken as required.  Look for evidence on quality feedback from the residents. Do they like what is on offer? They are the experts!

The kitchen should be clean, in good condition and tidy with no bad odors e.g. smell of burnt fat from the fryers.

The catering staff should be in clean uniforms i.e. aprons, safe footwear, hair covered or tided back, clean tunic top.


Enjoy your visit and let us know how you get on by sharing your stories with us @CAPAward on Twitter.





THE CAP Awards, one of the healthcare industry’s leading measures of quality in catering and housekeeping, are undergoing a major expansion.

The Awards, which are open to care homes and hospitals across the UK, are increasingly seen as THE badge of quality for catering and housekeeping services and are becoming ever more relevant to residents and patients.

During the next 12 months the CAP (Continuing Advancement Programme) Awards are aiming for a 50 per cent increase in the number of care homes and hospitals accredited to the scheme. There are currently 115 award-winning institutions.

Managing Director Ian Jackson said a growing number of care homes and hospitals were applying to have their housekeeping and catering services rated by CAP, which awards either a Bronze, Silver or Gold level for the quality of service on offer. 

He said: “With increased public scrutiny on healthcare providers there is a real desire to drive up standards in housekeeping and catering – areas of the service which end users instantly make judgments on. Our growth will meet this demand and help providers showcase their high standards.


“A CAP Award is a stamp of approval against regulations and industry ‘best practices’. It also highlights where efficiency savings can be made, crucially at no cost to the quality of the service. There is a growing recognition that ‘specialist’ support in measuring, monitoring and progressing these key services adds real value to the business.”


The CAP Awards are based on actual operational performance rather than just supporting paperwork, for instance, is staff training reflected in their actual working practices.


Each provider receives a score measured on the performance in a real-life audit with an action plan for future progression and ‘hand holding’ to help ensure that the plan is delivered within specified time frames. If a nominee doesn’t reach the Bronze level then support is provided to help corrective actions. 

The programme provides practical support and help in progressing the services

‘Tools of the Trade’ are provided as appropriate i.e. food waste controls, kitchen checklists, supplier due diligence questionnaires, etc.


Ian added that the Awards were also key to staff motivation: “Catering and housekeeping teams can sometimes be overlooked so the Awards provide an opportunity to champion these hardworking departments and celebrate their efforts, this can in turn assist staff retention.”


Crucially care home residents and hospital patients now expect far higher levels of transparency when it comes to the services they are using and the CAP Awards build that reassurance and trust.


Ian said: “A CAP Award provides assurances for friends and relatives of the service user that their loved one is being treated well and experiencing a high level of care.


“Because our analysis is across all aspects of the housekeeping and catering operations, from staff welfare to food storage and from menu balance to financials, service users can trust a CAP Award as a meaningful badge of quality.”


To find out if your facility could achieve a Bronze, Silver or Gold Cap Award go to

Stafford Grammar School step up to the top of the podium

The catering team at Stafford Grammar School lead by Trask Trinder stepped up a level in accrediting to the GOLD CAP Award.  Having previously secured SILVER, the team demonstrated their progress during the May Assessment Visit.  With the pupil feedback being excellent, the food tasting scoring well and the ‘chat’ with the pupils excelling, the whole team should be commended.  Coupled with the back-ground administration on food safety, allergens and training being robustly evidenced, the department deserve their moment at the top of the podium – Well done to all at Stafford Grammar School