Monthly Archives: March 2015
Healthcare awards for catering and housekeeping target growth

THE CAP Awards, one of the healthcare industry’s leading measures of quality in housekeeping and catering, are unveiling their new awards scheme for 2015.

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

Previous winners include homes from Gracewell Healthcare, Castlebeck and The Huntercomebe Group.

Over the past three years a growing number of care homes have opened their doors to have their housekeeping and catering services rated by CAP inspectors, which award either a Bronze, Silver or Gold level for the quality of service on offer.

Crucially the awards are also acknowledged by the Care Quality Commission and count as evidence in the Quality & Risk Profile and in CQC inspections.

Managing Director Ian Jackson said there was an appetite from providers to drive up standards whilst demonstrating transparency of operations to the public.

He said: “The CAP Awards, much like a Michelin Star or a Kitemark, give instant reassurance to a resident, or a family member that the catering and the cleaning of the care home in question are of a very high standard.

“These elements of the home are often a very accurate indicator of the broader quality of care on offer so it’s important to get them right.

“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.”

The CAP Award is also a useful management tool for providers and highlights where efficiency savings can be made, crucially at no cost to the quality of the service.

Paul Davies, of Gold Award-winning Bon Secours Care Village, Cork, said CAP accreditation had transformed the catering and housekeeping operations in the home.

Commenting on the Gold Award win Paul said: “Working with the CAP Awards team taught us how we could improve the quality of our catering offer and housekeeping while controlling costs.

“Winning the actual Gold Award was the culmination of putting this good advice into practice. What’s more, having Gold status is a quick way of demonstrating to our residents, and their loved ones, that this is a care home that takes catering and housekeeping seriously and only offers the highest quality service.

“Being an award winner undoubtedly puts us ahead of the competition, and the independent nature of the CAP Award makes it a meaningful endorsement that prospective residents can trust.”

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, fortnightly Core Skills Awareness plan, etc.

Ian added that the Awards were also key to staff motivation: “Housekeeping and Catering 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.”

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

‘My name is…’ campaign should be adopted by all care providers

A terminally ill doctor made headlines after she launched the “Hello my name is…” campaign to encourage healthcare staff to introduce themselves to patients.

Dr Kate Granger, a 31-year-old hospital consultant, started the campaign while she was being treated for cancer and was left frustrated by staff who failed to tell her their names.

Now more than 90 NHS organisations have signed up, and many care providers are taking note too.

At the CAP Awards top scores are only achieved when healthcare providers (hospitals and care homes) demonstrate that there is a good awareness of the need for inter-action with residents and patients.

For instance, meet and greet is a key part of the role for the staff serving the food, not that it is just plonked out in front of the patient. Eating is almost as much a social, as a biological function, and that should be reflected in the way meal times are run.

Communication is also vital (both structured and unstructured) in helping get feedback on the service experienced and an individual’s wants and dislikes.

Whether a person is passing comment on catering, housekeeping, care or any other service, they should be listened to and treated as a person who matters – and that starts with a name.

Maybe they are not happy with the position of lighting in a room, ease of access to the bedside table, access to water – perhaps a jug is too heavy or just out of reach? If this person is not known by a name they are sadly easier to ignore.

The culture of care is indicative of the site as a whole, from the greeting at reception through to staff communication with the patient/resident when cleaning their room.

Any one of us could one day find ourselves dependent on the care of another. Wouldn’t we want to be acknowledged, listened to and addressed by our given name?

Good luck to Dr Granger on a worthwhile and essential campaign to drive up standards in care – it often starts with the small details.

Home comforts are key to social care success story

Last month the Your Care Rating survey of thousands of UK care homes – think Trip Advisor for social care – announced its results.

The insightful research, based on the opinions of residents, gives a useful and honest snapshot of the state of the UK’s care homes.

The ipsos/MORI study focused on four key criteria when judging a home; staff and care, home comforts, having a say and quality of life.

At the CAP Awards our attention is very much on home comforts, the quality and choice of food on offer, the standard of the laundry service and the cleanliness and general tidiness of the home.

Many homes fared well on this metric, but some not so. So what’s the key to rating highly when it comes to providing ‘home comforts’?

Firstly let’s look at the quality of food on offer. The key factor here is to listen to the resident’s wants and then ensure the food is appropriate, well cooked and well presented.

Quality of food is often seen as being expensive ingredients whereas the resident’s needs are often for simple food but cooked with real love, care and attention, for example a cottage pie and of course home-made.

Feedback is vital and should be in many formats, both formal and informal, even just a verbal discussion in the dining room.

Secondly laundry. This must be clean, fresh and in good order. There can be no threads, staining or fading.  To help keep on top of this formalise the pillow and mattress assessment process as this provides real comfort for residents.

Make sure there are good systems and procedures in place to ensure regular cleaning of all soft furnishings. In the laundry put in place a simple labelling system to avoid losses of clothing, inconvenient and at times upsetting for some residents.

Finally cleanliness. There must be timely and appropriate completion of cleaning duties.  Ensure all parties (housekeeping, care staff and maintenance) know their cleaning responsibilities so no stone is left unturned in the upkeep of the home.

If care home managers and providers follow these simple but effective guidelines they can be assured residents will always rate them highly for home comforts, something that is absolutely critical in the provision of quality care.

Staff motivation is key to quality housekeeping and catering

IT’S our mission at the CAP Awards to help our clients continually strive to be the best they can be in their housekeeping and catering departments.

Often these teams can be the unsung heroes of the organisation and yet people would soon notice, and complain, if they weren’t performing at the best of their ability.

That’s why at the CAP Awards we believe staff motivation and satisfaction is the key to ensuring the success of housekeeping and catering functions.

When judging the day to day operations of these departments our inspectors are looking for signs and indications that best practices and systems are in place to ensure quality food is on the menu, facilities are spotless and budgets are being used efficiently.

None of these are possible if the people employed to deliver it are not valued, and that’s why staff motivation is at the heart of what we do.

Staff in these teams often work in challenging environments, from hot kitchens to dirty bathrooms, yet sometimes recognition from senior management is slow to trickle down.

Having an award scheme that actually recognises this daily effort, while showing people how to improve what they do, is a great way to prove that these teams really are valued. The department has a moment to shine when it gets it’s very own housekeeping or catering ‘Oscar’.

What’s more, sharing this good news with key stakeholders and the wider public, including the local media, creates a sense of pride amongst the staff.

This has a knock on effect of boosting staff retention and creating a culture of recognising, respecting and rewarding, that attracts the ‘right’ kind of employees going forwards.

Helping schools achieve a clean bill of health

Over the years some of UK’s leading independent schools have won a prestigious CAP (Continuous Advancement Programme) Award in recognition of their housekeeping and/or catering teams.

Recent winners include Roedean Girls’ School, Harrogate Ladies’ College, Stafford Grammar School, Bishop’s Stortford College, Oakham School and Hollygirt School.

All of these schools would agree that winning either a Bronze, Silver or Gold CAP Award has differentiated them from the competition, allowed them to clearly demonstrate the quality of their pastoral care in terms of cleaning and food, and crucially evidenced the quality of service being experienced by the pupils.

So what makes a winner?

Top of the list is always attention to detail. Excellent housekeeping requires meticulous focus on a multitude of daily tasks to ensure that a high standard is always maintained.

Secondly we’re looking for evidence of good practices. In the kitchens this would mean safe food practices in operation such as HACCP (Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point) and training on mandatory and daily tasks.

Cleaning procedures should have set daily, weekly and annual time slots, for instance there should always be daily room cleans of soft furnishings and a plan in place for effective mattresses and pillow management (in boarding schools).

The financial health and viability of the housekeeping department is an important award criterion. The feedback at this stage can also provide invaluable insight to improve budgetary management.

We’re looking to ensure that schools are getting great value for money from their materials and staffing, against industry benchmarks.

Awards inspectors want to see astute financial practices at work from controlling waste food in kitchen production, at service and on plate returns, to the strict stock control of cleaning materials and disposable products, i.e. bin bags.

Beyond having the best procedures and systems in place, winning schools demonstrate high performance based on actual real-life delivery. So how clean is the school on the day of the inspection, what do the pupils think of the food on offer that day, is it the right temperature, taste and nutritional balance?

Head teachers have told us that members of the housekeeping and catering teams take great pride from winning an award and the recognition they receive is wonderful for staff motivation and retention.

The achievement of the award is very much the start of the journey of continual improvement in the housekeeping and catering functions.

A longer version of this article will appear in Independent Education Today magazine on March 20th

Roedean’s Girls’ School is top of the class for housekeeping

BRIGHTON’S Roedean School has topped an inspection of schools for housekeeping and cleanliness.

The famous girls’ school was awarded a Gold CAP Award for its exceptional standards – receiving the highest score yet given to a school, following an unannounced inspection.

This is the second year Roedean has won the Gold CAP Award, and even showed improvements on its previous record-breaking win when they topped the score chart for a first time inspection.

The CAP (Continuing Advancement Programme) Awards recognise excellence in housekeeping and are regarded as the highest measure of quality.

Ian Jackson, Director of the CAP Awards said, the housekeeping team at Roedean had impressed him with their attention to detail.

He said: “Staff were very engaged and keen to see and understand the assessment process in their location to see what areas are looked at and understand the reasoning and corrective actions that were taken.

“Such a high score is a real credit to the team at Roedean and it’s impressive to see that they have not rested on their laurels and continually strive to improve the cleanliness of the school for the pupils.”

There was also good evidence provided on corrective actions taken against the recommended actions in the 2014 Report Action Plan

During the inspection, the cleanliness of the premises was scored with the absence of dust and debris scoring the highest.

All areas of the school were inspected from the boarding houses through to the theatre and on to the classroom and dining rooms.

Each area had its score recorded according to the cleanliness; for instance sofa cushions having been removed for cleaning under and around, skirting boards under desks free from dust and common rooms being clean at low, medium and high level.