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Positive Behaviour Support: It Is Everyone’s Business

Positive Behaviour Support: It Is Everyone’s Business

By Sophie Munden & Ziki Gwatiringa

In 2021, Outward expanded its team of directors to welcome Ziki Gwatiringa, Assistant Director of Care & Support and Positive Behaviour Support Lead. With over 20 years of experience in health and social care – and seven years of experience specific to PBS – Ziki brings a wealth of knowledge and a passion for empowering people with learning disabilities and autism. I spent an hour with Ziki to learn about PBS, how Outward is already seeing its impact, and Ziki’s vison  for the future.

What is PBS?

According to the British Institute of Learning Disabilities, PBS is “‘a person centred framework for providing long-term support to people with a learning disability, and/or autism…who have, or may be at risk of developing, behaviours that challenge. It is a blend of person centred values and behavioural science and uses evidence to inform decision-making.” It is underpinned by the belief that behaviour that challenges is simply a way for a person to communicate an unmet need and that we can reduce the behaviour by better meeting that person’s needs.

The language around PBS can be intimidating at first, however for Ziki, PBS is very simple.

“We complicate things with big words and jargon. Sometimes, when it gets too complicated, we lose sight of what we are trying to achieve.”

“PBS is something we do with our loved ones because we want to see them happy. The same applies to the people we support – with some TLC they thrive. Behaviours of concern are likely to decrease when we increase engagement with activities in which the person we support has choice and control.”

“PBS is all about love and care. It’s about making sure people are happy, empowering them to do things that make them feel good about themselves, and making sure they have a sense of belonging.”

Embedding a PBS culture across the organisation

At present, Dr. Steven Carnaby has delivered training to Area Managers and managers of the ASD services, who have received PBS Level 1 + 2, Training on Reflective Practice, Training on Functional Behaviour Assessment. Bromley staff have also received training around person-centred active support (see pg. 14). However, for Ziki it is clear that PBS training should not just be for support staff and service managers. Instead, PBS must be embedded as a culture across Outward.

“If you want to embed PBS into the organisation, you need everyone to buy into it. PBS becomes our business, not a particular group’s business.”

“My thinking is looking at Quality and ensuring they know what good PBS looks like. I want to make sure that PBS is embedded into our quality monitoring system. HR should understand what PBS so that it can feature in our job descriptions, adverts, and person specifications. It is also important for Housing to understand. Living environment is a critical factor for people who are known to present behaviours of concern. If the environment is not right, it can be a trigger for the people we support.”

Ziki has already been busy putting plans into action. He has started a PBS steering group, comprised of Area Managers, Service Managers, and Central Services colleagues. He will soon be leading NAPPI training with all front line staff, starting with The Drive, a supported living service in Chingford. His training is bespoke, focusing on the specific needs of the service and designed in consultation with service managers. He’s also keen to register Outward with the Restraint Reduction Network, who aim to facilitate a culture change around restraint, and will be reviewing the current PBS policy and procedure, as well as developing a physical intervention restraint policy and procedure.

Ziki’s passion for PBS is contagious; it’s clear he is excited for Outward’s future.

“Outward have made a significant investment in ensuring that it is a PBS organisation. I think it is very important to recognize that. We’ve been transparent about our journey and learnt from our mistakes. We’re going to change the culture through regulation, quality monitoring, training, and policy. It’s exciting stuff – really and truly its exciting times”

Ziki hopes that by the end of next year, Outward will have fully implemented PBS across the organisation.