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The Driving Up Quality Code

Author: Sarah Maguire

The Driving Up Quality Code is about providers of care and support doing all that we can to make  sure that what happened at Winterbourne View never happens again. To get there much change is needed if good organisations are to flourish and poor providers be driven out of the sector. The starting point for the Driving Up Quality Code is  providers of care and support taking responsibility for making the services we provide better.

The Code was developed by a steering group, chaired by the Housing and Support Alliance that gathered together representatives from provider organisations across the sector. This makes the Code unique as it was developed by people from the voluntary, independent and statutory sectors in consultation with people who use services, their families as well as the CQC and Commissioners. 

Once we all sat together and put aside our traditional squabbles and prejudices, it was clear there was a real desire and commitment to listen to the people we support and help them  build lives that have meaning to them. This is at the heart of the of the code and part of what the Driving Up Quality Alliance has promised to do under the Winterbourne View Concordat.

The code has 5 simple aims:

  1. To drive up quality in services for people with learning disabilities that goes beyond minimum standards.
  2. To create and build a passion in the learning disability sector to provide high quality, values-led services.
  3. To provide a clear message to the sector and the wider population about what is and what is not acceptable practice.
  4. To promote a culture of openness and honesty in organisations.To promote the celebration and sharing of the good work that is already out there.

This is a voluntary code and we are asking providers and commissioners to sign up publicly to the Code and make a commitment to the people they support and their families that they are going to do everything they can to drive up quality and be transparent and open about how they work.  

The code has a self-assessment process which encourages people to come together, take a deep breath and spend some time reflecting on how they work. This means asking people who often spend little time together -people we support, senior managers, support staff, families, housing providers, commissioners, finance and human resource teams, to listen to each other, recognise the good things, acknowledge the bad and find new ways to drive up the quality of what we do. The self-assessments should be posted on the Driving Up Quality website so everyone can see how they are working towards meeting the code. We hope that providers will go that extra mile and use Experts by Experience and/ or other mechanisms to independently verify their self-assessments.

The Code is not about being told what to do by Government, Commissioners or Regulators - it is about providers wanting to listen, learn and share their stories of what makes good support. We want providers to choose to do this because they know it is the right thing to do.


The publisher is the Centre for Welfare Reform.

The Driving Up Quality Code © Sarah Maguire 2014.

All Rights Reserved. No part of this paper may be reproduced in any form without permission from the publisher except for the quotation of brief passages in reviews.