County’s learning disability service shakes up recruitment

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An organisation working for people with learning disabilities is involving the people it helps in recruiting new staff.

Turning Point, a health and social care organisation in Bedfordshire, works with people who require support to achieve their ambitions and pursue their interests, and say the people who work with them are one of the biggest factors that influence their wellbeing and quality of life.

Wilmer, who lives in Bedfordshire, recently shared his experience of being on the interview panel for Laurie Armantrading, Turning Point’s new regional manager for Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire. He described it as a “fun, brilliant, really nice experience”.

On this recruitment, Wilmer worked directly with Fiona Ritchie, Turning Point’s managing director for learning disabilities and Andy Callow, director of operations. He was asked to review the information on all the shortlisted candidates, and consulted with the other tenants and staff where he lives, to decide what he should ask at interview. Specifically, he asked candidates about how they would help staff to support tenants.

Wilmer said of the being involved with the recruitment process: “I’d definitely do it again and recommend it to other people as its important tenants get to have a voice.”

Fiona Ritchie said: “It is vital we support people who use services to be an active part in recruiting staff at every level. They see things from a different prospective and very often ask the real crunchy questions that get to the heart of what is important to them. Our processes would be weaker without them.”

Laurie said having Wilmer involved was “very refreshing - the process felt very meaningful, uplifting and left me with a very positive impression.

“The ambition we have for all of our learning disability services across England is to have people with live experience on the interview panel for all staff, and we have committed to this as part of our Learning disability involvement charter.”