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Disseminating Findings Community Evaluation Unit Taunton Deane PCT Sure Start Weston super Mare Mystery Shopping for Quality Services Sure Start Weston Super Mare Service Quality Review 2004 Aims:

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disseminating findings
Disseminating Findings

Community Evaluation Unit

Taunton Deane PCT

Sure Start Weston super Mare

Mystery Shopping

for Quality Services

sure start weston super mare service quality review 2004
Sure Start Weston Super MareService Quality Review 2004


  • To assess children’s services in terms of how they fit to Sure Start’s aims + the expectations of local families
  • To consider the experience of local parents in seeking advice and information
  • To use the results to inform the development of services in the local area
key questions
Key Questions:
  • How do parents define a quality service?
  • What is the quality of services/activities provided by both Sure Start + local providers?
  • How easy is it for families to access services in their area?
  • What are the barriers that families may face when accessing services?
defining quality parent consultation
Defining Quality: Parent Consultation
  • Six parents involved in discussing factors that are important for them
  • Factors that make a high quality + family friendly service:
    • Staff attitude - Easy access
    • Confidentiality - Privacy
    • Signposting - Cleanliness
    • Information - Leaflets
    • Costs - Activities
the method mystery shoppers
The Method: Mystery Shoppers
  • Mystery shoppers recruited via GP records
  • Postcard adverts sent to 298 households
  • 17 people telephoned to register interest
  • Design of mystery shopping scenarios
  • Consent taken from service providers to mystery shop them
  • 7 telephone and 10 visit based enquiries were carried out
  • Enquiries made at a number of services which work either directly with, or include access for, under 4’s and their families in Weston super Mare

Health Centre Mystery Shopper Visit

The Enquiry – Find out about giving up smoking

Where did you go to find out about giving up smoking?

Getting There

How did you get to the health centre?

How long did it take you?

What was your journey like?

Was there buggy access to the building?

Was it clear where you were going?

Initial Impressions

Did anyone greet you?

Did the staff welcome you and your children?

How approachable were the staff?

Did you have to wait to talk to someone at all?

Information Given

What information were you given?

Do you feel that this would be helpful to someone considering giving up smoking?

Were you able to take any leaflets away with you?

Did you feel encouraged to find out more about giving up?


Do you have any more comments on your experience?

Could anything be done to have made it easier for you?


Health Centre Mystery Shopper Telephone Call

You are having problems breast feeding – can they help or

suggest where you can go?

How long did it take to get through?

Was the person you spoke to able to help?

What information were you given?

How friendly and helpful were they?

Could anything have been done differently?

Would you feel able to follow up your enquiry with the information given?

results1 what is the quality of services
Results1: What is the quality of services?
  • Varied experiences – enquirer has as much influence as the provider
  • Influenced heavily by gatekeepers
  • Information on sensitive issues difficult to locate
  • Difference between phone and visit enquiries
results2 phone enquiries
Results2:Phone Enquiries
  • Front line staff ‘helpful’ but little information
  • Positive key words: helpful, friendly, reassuring, encouraging, interested, supportive
  • Negative key words: staff are too busy, rushed, indifferent, no encouragement, impersonal service, unapproachable
  • Signposting confusing
  • Little relevant information available
  • Order of information – funded geographical areas
results3 visit enquiries
Results3: Visit Enquiries
  • No problems with travel to venues
  • 6 mystery shoppers took children – very few

facilities/child friendly areas

  • Access to buildings good but few signs
  • Divide over front line staff:
    • 4 x pleased by friendliness
    • 5 x unsatisfactory
  • Very large, busy, dull looking unfriendly places
  • Very few child friendly venues - distraction
  • Little privacy or confidentiality – public spaces
  • Signposting confusing
results4 key barriers
Results4: Key barriers
  • Lack of encouragement/friendliness
  • Staff attitude + welcome
  • Local knowledge – partial information
  • Misinformation + confusing signposts
  • Child friendliness – distractions + attention
  • Parents often feel nervous about reaching out to a new service either by phone or in person
  • Parents look for different qualities when they are phoning about a service compared to when they visit
  • Front line staff are key gatekeepers + are very important in providing quality family based services + information
  • Those shoppers who are welcomed + encouraged feel more at ease with the service + asking questions
  • Few venues prioritise privacy/confidentiality when sharing personal details
  • Few venues that give information about children’s services are child-friendly
  • Information + signposting can be confusing
  • Expect any parent who comes to the service to be nervous and require some support
  • Provide key information to front line staff; activities, specific staff contacts etc.
  • Ensure staff are aware that they are gatekeepers to important information + appreciate the power that gives
  • Train front line staff in how to welcome and encourage participation from the earliest stages
  • Encourage a private space for parents to discuss issues confidentially
  • Expect people accessing children’s services to have children with them
  • Ensure only correct information + signposting is given, giving consideration to literacy issues
  • Successful Methodology - uncovered what it can be like for local parents attempting to access services and information – data impossible to gather in other ways
  • Good Action Research - Successfully engaging ‘hard to reach’ parent both in the research and service – one man quit smoking as a result and sample draws on non Sure Start parents
  • An incentive must be used (previous research 0 replies from 250) - some volunteers are more interested in the incentive than the evaluation
  • Dealing with data – project not about naming and shaming but developing a model of good practice with reference to children’s services – dealing sensitively with services
  • Difference in feedback from parents – first MS exercise less structured feedback sheet to standardise data. Qualitative or quantitative?
  • Presentation to Parent Forum
  • Presentation to Partnership Board
  • Full report
  • Summary for Weston super Mare library
contact details
Contact Details

Jo Moseley

Community Evaluation Unit

Taunton Deane PCT

Wellsprings Road



joanne.moseley@somerset.nhs.uk or evaluation@somerset.nhs.uk

01823 344305

Reports: www.somerset.nhs.uk/communityevaluation