The ‘Mum Test’

By David Mason

the mum testThis week the Care Quality Commission (CQC) – the body responsible for the regulation of all health and social care in England – announced a new regime for the inspection of care homes. In future, inspectors will carry out a ‘mum test’ in which they’ll be asked to consider if they’d be happy for someone they love and care about to receive the services patients are receiving – including the way they are cared for and spoken to. In other words, ‘Would this place and its people be good enough for my mum?’

It’s a great question to ask and will, I think, begin to change the way inspections are carried out. The CQC will oversee it and, in this way, it will be regulated.

However, this got me thinking about the way many people are treated in the workplace. Working for managers who, whether aggressively or passively, intimidate, bully and/or rule by fear is one of the greatest causes of stress in today’s workforce. And stress inevitably leads to absence, illness and sometimes worse.

But who regulates the workplace in terms of the way people are treated and spoken to? The answer, often, is the very people who are doing the treating and speaking. Therefore, the responsibility on leaders and managers to do the right thing is huge. Anyone who has authority over someone else – formal or informal – automatically has power over them.

And if this power is used in the right way it can be stimulating, exciting and engaging.

But if it’s used in the wrong way it can be hugely destructive. Relationships deteriorate, insecurity abounds and the workplace becomes a place of fear and hatred.

So here’s a simple question:

How happy would you be for your mum to be treated in the way you treat your people?

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