Two commissioners and three ways to improve care homes

I am working with commissioners in England and Wales who are taking a different approach to working in partnership with providers to improve care homes. There are three ways that they are doing this, buying membership to The Butterfly Community, investing in Community Circles and using the self-assessment tool Progress for Providers.

Progress for Providers

In Flintshire there is a strong partnership with care homes and commissioners. We worked together to co-design a programme to introduce what matters conversations, think about person-centred paperwork, and use Working Together for Change to co-produce change in care homes. As you would expect, the different care homes are at different places in their development. To reflect that we worked together to re-develop our existing self-assessment calls Progress for Providers in care homes. We adapted it to reflect three stages of practice – bronze, silver and gold. Commissioners and reviewing officers are supporting care homes to develop to achieve bronze, and then move to silver and gold. They are ‘signed off’ by the reviewing officer and the plan is that this information would be made public through the councils website.

Commissioners in Wigan have just started to use Progress for Providers. They held sessions for providers to work through the document, and to decide on the areas that they wanted to develop in next. This is to ensure that all care homes having the same understanding of what good looks like, have a clear understanding of where they are now, and what they are progressing towards.

Investing in Community Circles

Wigan has used an innovation fund to invite the charity Community Circles to introduce the concept of Community Circles to each of their care homes, over three years. Using a “depth and breadth” approach pioneer homes are being supported to embed Circles to support people’s well-being and community connectedness while others are helped to prepare the ground for sustainable growth over the 3 years. All homes are invited to join a membership site so we can combine direct mentoring with a low cost support programme.

The Butterfly Community

Commissioners in Wigan have invested in annual membership to The Butterfly Community for each of their care homes. This relatively low cost (£495 per care home per year) initiative is a way to support each care home to move towards outstanding, and have a portfolio of culture and innovations that they are undertaking over the year. This reflects best practice in ‘Modern Workforce Learning’ as a learning campaign – a way to deliver and share learning, and then have interaction to help apply what is being learned, and share what you have committed to change.

Wigan Commissioners have put all three initiatives together, and this short film shows how they interrelate and build on each other.

We know that many care homes are struggling. Some would argue that these three initiatives cannot make a difference in challenging financial times. However what encourages me is fundamentally the partnership relationship between commissioners and care homes, the desire to want to have a shared understanding of what good looks like and where people are, and what they can work on next together, providing practical support to move forward through The Butterfly Community, and recognizing that different relationships with communities, through Community Circles, will be critical in how we move forwards.

Ofcourse non of the commissioners are stopping there. I am talking to them about new builds, based on the household model, being a Butterfly Home, and supported by Wellbeing Teams with Community Circles.


To find out more about Community Circles and care homes please contact Cath Barton

To find out more about The Butterfly Community please go to

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