What is meant by consent?

Consent is giving permission to do something.

In Health and Social Care settings it usually means that the service user gives consent to take part in activities, or to accept support in personal care andLiaise Loddon Preview (LowQ) (ICC) (15) treatment, taking medication or sharing personal information.

At Liaise Loddon we support people who use a variety of ways to communicate.  This can be by writing, using sign language, picture exchange, photos, and body language.  All our support workers are trained in communication to enable them to support our service users in all areas of their lives.

We ensure that we seek consent from our service users in all areas, for example

  • Can I help brush your hair?
  • Can I help clean your teeth?
  • Can I come into your room and sit with you?
  • Can I go into your wardrobe?

Many of our service users communicate using their body language.  By building relationships our support workers understand their preferences.  They work together as a team ensuring they share information that will promote the service users well-being, independence and choice.  Some of the ways our service users indicate consent using their body language are

  • They may turn around for you to brush their hair
  • They may open their mouth for you to support them with teeth cleaning
  • They may smile when you ask to come in their room
  • They may walk towards their wardrobe

Signs that the person may not be giving consent could be

  • They grab their own hair and move away
  • They fold their arms and refuse to open their mouth
  • They may close their bedroom door or turn their bodies away from you
  • They may stand in front of the wardrobe

Liaise Loddon Preview (LowQ) (ICC) (18)At Liaise Loddon we work hard to get to know the individuals likes and dislikes.  We build relationships with the individuals, building up trust and we ask open questions using preferred forms of communication.

All co-workers are also trained in the Mental Capacity 2005 to support with decision-making when a service user is assessed as lacking capacity.  When we do this we involve co-workers and members of the family who know the service user well and ensure they complete a best interest form stating what they believe would be in the best interest of the individual.  We have used this for a variety of decisions such as going on holiday and purchasing individual items such as Xboxes and tablets.

Times change…………..

Liaise Loddon is about to be twenty years old and Loddon School is now about 27 years old but my life in the world of autism and education goes back much further! So a potted history of the changes in education and care.

chalkMy teaching career started 55 years ago when autism had only been identified for 20 years. My first job as a teacher was in a secondary school in Southampton where I taught English – and was amazed to find children there who couldn’t read or write – or some even who did not speak. Did they have autism I wondered? Today they would be in a special school but this was before the 1970 Education Act which gave education for all and so began the idea of special schools rather than training centres and hospitals.

My next job was in a special unit for children who found attending school difficult for various reasons. Here I met some highly intelligent children who had areas of brilliance and were gifted in certain subjects and who would now be seen as ‘savants’ who excelled in maths, music and art. One very challenging young man left this unit and founded a world famous computer company and was a millionaire at 18! Perhaps these were gifted children with autism at the other end of the spectrum from those I met in my first job.

At this time most children and adults with learning disabilities were usually put into the care of a local long stay hospital for the ‘severely sub-normal’. In the USA there were hospitals for such patients where 10000 or more people lived!

Girl drawing back to school

After a year teaching in a hospital school in New Zealand I knew more about autism. You learn quickly when you have a class of 12 children with no classroom assistant help and the children aged from 12 to 21 are your responsibility from 8.30 till 3.30 without a break – unless the teacher who shared the room with you and her 12 children gave you ten minutes to eat your lunch.  It was an exciting year where I learnt a great deal about classroom management and how to work with a wide range of disabilities and challenges.

‘Dibs in search of self’ by Virginia Axline influenced me at this stage – a really useful book!Dibs

On my return to the UK in 1975 I became Deputy Head of Hope Lodge School for children with Autism – a newly established school and one of the first in the UK for children with autism. On my first day one boy jumped out of the window and ran all the way to the shops about a mile away with me in hot pursuit! One child had to go into a long stay hospital for Christmas and I had to take her there. She was number 37 in a ward with one nurse sitting in a glass box office and 36 other children lying on a rather unsavoury carpet with a TV high on the wall but no other toys at all. It was rather like the films of Romania! But made me decide that one day, I would ensure it could be done better.


During the 1980s I became Head teacher at Greenacres SLD School in Winchester where I introduced EDDY, real learning and the teaching of reading and a school day with a curriculum, teaching strategies and even their first BBC computer. Then I became Director of Education at Ravenswood Village in Berkshire where there were 200 children and adults living in a special village. In this job I introduced assessment and programmed reviews so that children and adults had targets and opportunities to learn new skills.

So from the early days of teaching in Southampton to the work in Berkshire I was working towards a new way of working with people with disabilities and making sure that each person was given respect and opportunity. It was at Ravenswood that I was introduced by a visitor to the developing programme in New York called SCIP. I worked with Janet Bromley and Linzi Holt to develop the programme and deliver it in Ravenswood so that it became a proactive positive programme forming the basis of our work today in Loddon School and Liaise Loddon now known as PROACT-SCIPr-UK®
Now we have more than 700 instructors teaching positive programming and behaviour supports throughout the UK and even in Zambia where we have 6 keen instructors already.

So my teaching journey began when I as a small girl decided to become a teacher and to ensure that children with disabilities were given real opportunities – and look where we are now! Do you have a vision? Where do you want to be and what do you want to achieve?

The world of disability has changed in my life time and will continue to change so that everyone has an opportunity and no one lives in the conditions I saw in old hospitals, and in Romania. Follow your vision!

Marion Cornick Co-founder & Chair of Directors Liaise LoddonMarion Cornick, Chair of Directors

Living Wage and Pay Increase

Liaise Loddon is currently embarking on the process of becoming accredited by the Living Wage Foundation. As part of our commitment to becoming a fully signed up Living Wage employer, we are raising the lowest hourly rate paid to our support workers to £7.85 per hour, in line with the current Living Wage level set by the Foundation. This means that all our co-workers, no matter what qualifications or experience they have, will be paid at least a Living Wage. As part of a sector in which many companies routinely pay only minimum wage to care workers (at the moment only around 20 care home providers out of  5000 nationally are signed up to the Living Wage), we believe that by committing to the Living Wage we are helping to improve working conditions not only for our own co-workers, but for all care workers by leading the way for other employers.

To find out more about the Living Wage Foundation visit their website at


Graduate Scheme for Social Care

Graduate Management Training Scheme 2016 – Trainee Applications Now Open

The National Skills Academy for Social Care’s Graduate Management Training Scheme is now taking applications from graduates for a place in the cohort starting in January 2016.

This is a great scheme, giving graduates who want to become leaders in social care the opportunity to benefit from an intensive year of practical experience and tailored learning and development, with a tax-free bursary of £18,000.

Liaise has previously hosted a trainee as part of the scheme, and we were very impressed with the quality of the scheme and the trainees – particularly our own trainee who stayed with us after the placement year ended.

Prospective candidates can find full details of the scheme and apply via the NSA website.

If you know anyone that may be suitable and interested, please share this with them.

The Importance of Pensions

Whilst not the most exciting of subjects, a decent personal pension is important if you are going to enjoy the years after you retire. It also gives you greater flexibility on when you can retire.

The State Pension age is gradually increasing – as I know personally because when I thought I was within 10 years of drawing my, I hate to say it, old age pension,pound-coin-1523033 I had a letter saying my state pension age was increasing by a year! For those now in their twenties, or perhaps older, there is the possibility that there will be no state pension at all, or if there is one, it is set at a lower level, in real terms, than today.

The company pays more contributions on your behalf than it is legally required to and has also set your contribution at a higher level in order that you build up a reasonable fund. money-iii-1254139The company’s rate of contribution is set but it is possible to pay more contributions yourself and, subject to limits, get tax relief on these. It is also possible to make a greater salary sacrifice, again subject to limits, although this is an area the government is looking into and there may be greater restrictions in the future.

Most co-workers are in the company scheme but if you are not then it is worth seriously considering why you have opted out. If you leave the company and join another employer’s scheme it is important to consider the level of contributions being made and whether you wish to top these up.

pound-coin-1523033As referred to earlier having your own pension gives you greater choice on when you retire although the earlier you start drawing it the smaller the pension you receive.

The company can not give specific pension advice as, by law, this has to be provided by someone properly licensed to do so. If you are a member of the company scheme or thinking of joining then you can ask advice from Scottish Widows who manage the company scheme.

pound-coin-1523033Relying on a lottery win to fund your retirement is a very risky strategy. Relying on being able to work beyond your retirement age is also risky as no one knows what the future holds and you may not be able to continue working for a variety of reasons.

It is worth bearing in mind that when you retire you have more time to do things than when you are working and so your requirement for money to spend enjoying yourself may well increase. Thinking about how much you will need is a good place to start when deciding if your pension is going to be adequate for your needs.SONY DSC

It is never too early (or late) to make pension contributions. If in doubt, take advice now.

David Grist, Finance Director

Health and Wellbeing

We rely on a dedicated and supportive team of co-workers to provide high quality care and support for the service users in our homes.   It is therefore important to us in return to provide a great place for our co-workers to want to work and be part of our journey.

We recently and very proudly achieved our Investors in People Bronze Award.  This involved over 20% of our co-workers spending time with the Investors in People Specialist and telling her what it was like for them to work at Liaise.  We were so please at how well everyone represented themselves and spoke so proudly about the work they do and the support they get to do their job.

Building on this success and not being ones to sit back on our laurels, we are now looking at our health and wellbeing strategy to develop it further so we can continue to encourage a high level of engagement between the company, the homes and teams.

We will be working on making sure we have the right resources to support wellness at work and promote work-life balance that can be accessed by all.      balance-4-smallhenge-1564613