IMPROVEMENTS are needed at Knutsford Supported Living Network, says the care watchdog.

The service at East Terrace, Westfield Drive in Knutsford is run by Cheshire East Council.

It was rated overall as ‘requiring improvement’ by the Care Quality Commission following an inspection on January 23 and 28.

The service provides care and support to people living in a supported living setting so they can live in their own home as independently as possible.

The CQC found the service required improvement in three of the five areas looked at – its safety, effectiveness and whether it was well led. In respect of being caring and responsive the service was rated good.

At the last inspection in 2016 the service was rated good, and this is the first time it has been rated as requiring improvement.

The provider was given 48 hours’ notice of the inspection because the service supported people living in the community, and the inspection team wanted to ensure staff were available in the office, as well as giving notice to people that inspectors wished to visit them.

The inspection report said: “The provider could not demonstrate that all staff had undertaken required training and refresher training.

“Training was provided by a training department; however, we were advised training was not always available or there were limited spaces.

“Staff had not received consistent and frequent one-to-one supervisions or appraisals with their line manager.

“The management team expressed that staffing shortages in the senior team had impacted on this.

“Staff understood the need to seek consent and the principles of the Mental Capacity Act (MCA). However, records were insufficient to demonstrate where decisions had been made for people they had been made in accordance with MCA.

“The provider’s audits to monitor the service were not fully effective as they had not identified all the issues highlighted in this inspection.

“Further improvements to the quality monitoring processes are required to ensure there is a clear overview of practice within the service.

“The provider had not ensured staff training or competency checks around medicines were kept under review.”

The report said that overall people and relatives were very complimentary and positive about the support they received.

A Cheshire East Council spokesman said: “While we are disappointed at the rating by the Care Quality Commission (CQC), the council is pleased that, overall, families and residents accessing Knutsford Supported Living were very complimentary and positive about the support they received.

“The council is also reassured that the report confirms that staff had developed ‘positive and caring relationships’ with service users and had time to spend with them, listen to them and understand their needs. Service users were treated with dignity and respect.

“The report noted that a person-centred culture, shared by managers and staff, aimed to support people to achieve positive outcomes, to feel cared for and supported.

“Freeing up staff for training purposes has been a challenge for the council, owing to the recruitment difficulties faced by the social care sector generally.

"The council is taking action to address this and, since the two inspections in January, the council has introduced a new comprehensive improvement plan, which has been developed to address the issues raised and which has been shared with the CQC.”