Guidance on setting up a local
Registered Managers’ Network
Welcome to this guidance note about setting up a local
network for Registered Managers. We’re pleased to see
that you are considering setting up a network in your area
and thank you for your interest.
This note tells you about the support programme for
Registered Managers; what starting and running a network
might involve; how to go about it; what support you will
receive from us; and what we will expect from you.
About the Registered Managers’
What is a local network?
A local network is a geographical y-close group of Registered
This is a national programme, supported by the Department
Managers (we would suggest within a maximum of a 40–50 mile
of Health, to help Registered Managers in their roles as lead
radius, although this may differ in different parts of the country),
professionals in care home and home care settings. It is run
who would like to come together to share experiences and good
by the National Skil s Academy for Social Care in conjunction
practice, obtain information about new developments in social
with a range of partners from across the social care sector.
care, and learn from each other and external speakers, in order to build expertise, knowledge and leadership confidence. It is a safe
Registered Managers have a pivotal leadership role. The 2012
space in which to discuss issues and share experience. Registered
Social Care White Paper, Caring for our future
Managers can both give and receive support and being part
the particular impact that Registered Managers can have on
of a network such as this also helps to validate their individual
people’s experience of care and support.
At the same time, it was acknowledged that Registered Managers can sometimes be isolated, and don’t get the opportunities they
Setting up a local network:
need to network with, support, and learn from each other and the
wider sector. This programme has therefore been set up to better- having an Organiser
equip Registered Managers to meet the chal enges they face;
Firstly, we suggest having one person designated as the
give them better access to information, guidance and advice;
Organiser. This person should be a Registered Manager who
and provide more opportunities for networking and support.
For more information about the programme,
They will take overall responsibility for setting up and running
go to www.nsasocialcare.co.uk, or contact the Skil s Academy
the network, although they should be supported by other network
members. This will give them the flexibility to decide with fel ow members what they’d like to focus on.
About the Local Networks Fund
The Organiser’s role is to ensure that the network runs smoothly,
The Local Networks Fund is part of the Registered Managers’
and that any discussions are focused and supportive, based on
It is a fund, held by the National Skil s Academy for Social Care,
The Organiser also needs to col ate evidence from the network,
to which any Registered Manager who is a member of the
over time, that the network is having an impact on its members’
Skil s Academy, either individual y or through their organisation,
practice and therefore on the experience of people who use care
and support services, as this will be part of the feedback required at the end of the grant.
Up to £2000 per application is available, to help set up and run a local network.
Network Organisers will be offered the opportunity to attend training and networking events with the Skil s Academy, to
The fund is there to support activities such as obtaining venues/
meet with other Organisers and external speakers and to share
refreshments for meetings, paying external speaker expenses,
learning and good practice, e.g. around raising awareness
or obtaining reports and other materials that would be relevant
of the network, getting new members and obtaining other
and helpful to Registered Managers in their roles.
There is an application form and process to fol ow: full guidelines and details can be found at www.nsasocialcare.co.uk or please call the Skil s Academy on 020 7268 3082. Applications are considered quarterly and reviewed against criteria laid out in the guidelines.
Do some initial research and get help from others
Have an initial discussion
Often, you will know people in your area – fel ow Registered
Once you’ve got a small group of Registered Managers who are
Managers – who would be interested in coming together
wil ing to participate (it doesn’t need to be more than five or
as a local network. At the same time, there may be existing
six people), you’re ready to talk about the desired structure and
networks that would like to strengthen their resources,
Have a planning meeting, outside work if you need to – we’d
If you’re part of a large employer organisation and would like
suggest lasting not more than one hour – 90 minutes. Set an
to link up with other Registered Managers local y who are part
of the same organisation, get in touch with your HR Department
• discussion of your experiences and your ideas for the network
and ask them for help. Or contact your local Care Provider Association, or Forum – please contact the Skil s Academy on
• what you’d like to get out of the network
020 7268 3082 or via firstname.lastname@example.org for
• the kinds of things you’d like to know more about in relation
to your role – e.g. the inspection process, adult safeguarding and what’s real y a safeguarding issue, etc.
Skil s for Care local area officers may well be able to help – go to www.skil sforcare.org.uk and fol ow the regional links.
Decide your aims, objectives and ground rules
If you’re a home care provider and a member of the UK
You don’t need a long list here, but some clear aims and
Homecare Association, contact them (www.ukhca.co.uk) and
objectives for the network will be valuable, as it will need
they will be able to point you towards fel ow UKHCA members in
direction and a sense of what you’re looking to achieve.
It will help you to have the criteria for the Local Networks Fund to hand here – go to www.nsasocialcare.co.uk to download them
If you work in residential care, try these organisations:
or contact the Skil s Academy on 020 7268 3082.
One ‘ground rule’ that would be helpful is confidentiality.
The network is a ‘safe space’ for people to discuss issues and
experiences that have a direct bearing on them. So network members need to commit to not divulging anything outside
the network meeting except with the express – and written
– prior permission of other network members.
It’s also useful to have some broad ground rules in place
around what happens at network meetings, e.g. on people not
dominating the conversation, an expectation that everyone
takes part and listens to others, etc.
Agree some broad roles
This may come down to the network Organiser in the early days,
but it might be useful to identify if people would be wil ing to take on specific roles in the future, e.g. meeting venue sourcing
and organisation, running the meetings and leading discussion,
sourcing external speakers, writing up the learning and col ating
information around how the learning is being applied in practice.
If you don’t have any links, it’s worth putting a note in your local paper that you’re thinking of starting up a network, and asking
Make your application for funding
people to get in touch with you – and doing the same in local
If you do decide you want not only to set up a local network, but
shops and GPs’ surgeries. Word will soon get round.
to apply for funding to help you get started or augment what you currently do, then the first step is to download the application form for the Local Networks Fund from www.nsasocialcare.co.uk, along with the guidance notes.
The form is simple to complete: you can work with the initial network members to fill it in, and then please return it (online or in hard copy) to the Skil s Academy. Whatever the outcome of your application, we will let you know the position. If you don’t obtain funding through the Local Networks Fund, please get back in touch with the Academy, as we will be able to advise you on other potential sources of funding. But do get funding in place before you start.
Once you’re up and running
Network contact details
Publicising the network
It will be helpful to for one person, probably the Organiser, to
Local papers, alongside social media and sector organisations,
have contact names, work addresses, mobile phone numbers and can all help here. email addresses for all network members. We suggest setting up
It’s worth putting a press release or a note in your local
a written list or spreadsheet. If you want to share contact details,
paper, especial y if one of one of your network members has
in order to comply with data protection requirements, you need
a “good news” story about what’s happening in their service
to obtain the written consent of network members that they
that they’re happy to share in public.
are happy for their details to be shared before sending out any information. More information on this is available through the
If you use them, think about Facebook and Twitter, although we
Information Commissioner’s Office, at www.ico.gov.uk.
would suggest using appropriate safeguards here around privacy settings. Care association newsletters and e-bul etins, employer
Deciding a network programme for meetings
e-bul etins and Skil s for Care local newsletters are also good ways
Before you get going, we suggest having a basic plan in place
of how you would like the network’s programme to operate.
For example, would you like one meeting a month over a period
When you’ve decided where and when your first meeting will
of six months to begin with? Would you like to have an external
take place, send out the information to all your existing network
speaker at every other meeting? What topics would you want
members and other potential contacts, using the sources listed
to cover at the meetings? How long would the meetings last
above in ‘Publicising the network’.
(we would suggest not more than half a day if they’re during the day, not more than two hours if they’re in the evenings)?
At the first meeting, the Organiser or another network member needs to start off proceedings by introducing the local network
and its purpose, how it started and the aim of the first meeting,
Whilst some employers may have space available for network
so that people know what to expect and can offer feedback.
meetings, or some network members may be wil ing and able
An effective network will involve input, ideas and group
to have meetings in their own homes, it may be better to hire an
external venue, not least because it gives network members a
We’d suggest having a chair or moderator, to guide proceedings.
sense of having a separate, designated space. It’s worth checking Try to balance the meeting between formal discussion and
with your local Council about local community groups that may
have rooms available, or about Church hal s or meeting rooms that might be available. Other potential sources of venues will be
Make sure you explain to the network members present that
local schools, FE Col eges or community education centres. It’s
input and involvement from them is important to make sure the
worth asking about data projection and wi-fi facilities at different meetings go wel , such as the time for sharing, guest speakers venues, as these may be helpful when having external speakers.
It’s an idea to start a meeting with a quick round of introductions
– invite everyone to say their name, where they’re based and a
Different networks will be interested in different topics, and
bit about themselves and their role, if they would like to. People
there are lots of ways of reaching experts who would be happy
can also be asked to state any issues they would particularly
value help and support with, if they would like to do so. This can be a good ‘ice-breaker’, but at the same time no-one is obliged
Ask your local care association or Skil s for Care officer (go to
www.skil sforcare.org.uk) about local or regional speakers – they will often be able to make contact for you. Local Independent
What happens next will depend on the format of the meeting.
Living Groups will also be able to help. And it’s worth contacting
You might want to break the meeting up into an initial discussion
CQC either at national or at local level: Inspectors are only too
of key local issues; a guest speaker; discussion with the speaker;
happy to come and talk with people on the ground, especial y
and agreeing the next topic. Or you could give the meeting over
Registered Managers. Go to www.cqc.org.uk. And the Skil s
to a specific issue that a network member chooses to bring to
Academy is always here to help – go to www.nsasocialcare.co.uk
the network, looking for potential solutions and learning that
you can all take away. Your network will devise its own preferred way of working and this can be regularly reviewed with network members.
Have a break halfway through the meeting – even if ostensibly a break for refreshments, it’s also actual y a great opportunity for people to meet and network with each other.
A good network Organiser/chair unobtrusively observes, listens, reflects back to the network and judges when to intervene. Issues such as one individual trying to dominate the conversation can be dealt with tactful y and if necessary, you can reiterate any ground rules.
Sharing information and resources
What we will expect from you
You should make sure that any resources or reports that are
If the Skil s Academy is supporting your network through
mentioned at a network meeting are made available to network
members, either by emailing electronic copies or links, or sending hard copies (the network funding can cover this).
• full receipts for any expenditure • a half-yearly and annual report from you, setting out how
If there are reports that you think should be available
national y, or you want to notify Registered Managers and others more general y about some good practice or innovative
• evidence of regular network activities
development local y, contact the Skil s Academy at
• evidence on how the network has supported learning
email@example.com and we can place it on
the website or get in touch with other organisations with
• evidence of how that learning has been applied in the
workplace; has changed workplace practice; and has benefited the care and support that service users obtain.
What you can expect from
the Skil s Academy
If the Skil s Academy is supporting your network through the
Local Networks Fund, we will support you in a number of ways,
• holding the designated funding for you so you don’t need
• linking you with local and national speakers on a range
• letting other Skil s Academy members in your area know
• promoting your network on our website and to other
• providing support and information on setting up and
• promoting any learning, case studies or examples of
innovation/good practice from your network you wish to see more widely disseminated
• providing opportunities for training, development and
mutual support for network Organisers.
The National Skil s Academy for Social Care
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