My First Year as a Service Quality Director: Settling in to the role

Posted 31/05/2024

Sam Avery, Service Quality Director for Thera South West, explains how she is settling into the role and the impact she has had so far.

A lot of people thought that I wouldn’t last in full time employment. My friends told me so. I am happy to say I have proved them wrong. I couldn’t have done it without the support of Thera. It really is an organisation that cares about people. My role as Service Quality Director for Thera South West has opened so many doors for me in my personal and professional life.

My confidence and self esteem has skyrocketed. I don’t feel down now. I’ve built good relationships with the Service Quality Directors and Executive Assistants.

I am making improvements at using digital technology like Teams. It’s a necessary part of my role and it feels a bit sink or swim but I am swimming at the moment.

I have attended board meetings. A key part of my role is to promote accessibility within the organisation. I have encouraged the use of communication cards during board meetings. We also use a jargonator to encourage simple and clear speech. It is a simple system where when jargon is used that you do not understand you are able to press a button that makes people aware of this. They then explain the language they used. We discuss operations going forward. I work alongside Estelle (Managing Director) at running Thera South West, deciding the direction and implementing the strategy. This isn’t the easiest thing for me and is a learning curve I am figuring out on the job. Again, Thera’s support in this area has been amazing.

Another part of my role is representing Thera externally. I attended an advocacy day at Torquay where I stood up and spoke about Thera’s leadership model. It was a networking event for social care providers who support people with a learning disability and I think it is very important for us to share the co-production approach we take and the benefits of it.

Working in social care can be challenging at times. Recently one of the people we support passed away. I met their housemates who are going through the grieving process. It’s a sad but necessary part of the job. We aren’t just there for the people we support in the good times. I will be representing Thera at the funeral.

This role is challenging, but wonderful. I get to make a real difference in people’s lives and champion the rights of people with a learning disability. I am proving what people with a learning disability can do and achieve despite what they may have been told.

I also have exciting ideas for the future, including representing Thera at an upcoming event. But that’s for next time. Stay tuned!

Read the first blog is Sam’s series here