Budgets, staff sickness and recruitment – learning the ropes of social care management

Natalie Crisp with a user of mcch's services at the provider's recent 80s themed event

This month mcch – the provider with whom I’m doing my placement – celebrated its 25th anniversary with an 80s themed event at the Detling Showground, near Maidstone. It was an opportunity for everyone who uses mcch’s services to come together and participate in a day filled with fun activities.

Since the beginning of my placement I have been involved with a group of people we support called SPECs (one of whom is pictured above), who organise events and conferences. As part of the celebration day we organised a talent show to showcase all of the fantastic things that people who are supported by mcch can do. I’ve assisted members of the group to shortlist participants, organise and run auditions, and ultimately decide on the finalists, so it was fantastic on the day to see everything come together. Luckily I wasn’t involved in the judging panel as I was exceedingly biased, and rooting for the drama group from the day centre where I’ve been acting as services co-ordinator.

I am still at the day centre full-time, and this has continued to provide new challenges and opportunities. I have never managed a large staff team before, and as such I have been continually doing new things. I’ve performed back-to-work meetings following sickness absences, undertaken an investigation as part of a disciplinary and run an interview process to recruit new staff. I don’t think I fully appreciated at the start how much of being a manager came down to dealing with staffing needs, but ultimately I have really enjoyed being in the same place, and being able to see the positive effects of even small changes for the people who attend the centre.

As part of my Institute of Leadership and Management course – the other part of the National Skills Academy for Social Care’s graduate traineeship – I have had a development day on finance. If I’m honest this was something I was dreading beforehand, as numbers are definitely not my thing. However, it was really beneficial and I discovered that I knew more than I thought I did and gained new confidence in being able to understand a budget sheet. I will likely be involved in budget setting towards the end of my placement, so I will be able to put these new skills into practice.

I am aware that I am now coming towards the latter part of my placement, and as such have started to think about employment afterwards. I have gained so many management skills from my placement and have really enjoyed working on the front line in service provision.

Natalie Crisp is a trainee on the National Skills Academy for Social Care’s graduate management training scheme for which she is doing a placement at learning disability, autism and mental health provider mcch.

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