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What to expect from inspections

Rob Hargreaves, Information Services Manager, Skills for Care

Rob Hargreaves, Information Services Manager, Skills for Care shares what providers need to know about the new approach to inspection.

It’s now three years since the Care Quality Commission (CQC) started talking about a new approach to inspection, 18-months since they published the Single Assessment Framework, and 3-months since the Single Assessment Framework began to be rolled out. We’ve had plenty of warning, but do we know what is needed?

The introduction of the Single Assessment Framework represents the biggest change to inspection processes in almost a decade. There have been a few bumps along the way, including delays that pushed back initial roll out, but the old inspection process will now be replaced by February 2024.

To guide or not to guide?

Whilst the CQC gave significant advance notice of what regulated providers would need to demonstrate to achieve the 34 new Quality Statements, guidance has been a long time coming. As the CQC remains non-prescriptive, we never expected them to offer a “step-by-step” guide to achieving ‘Good’ or ‘Outstanding’ that some providers might crave for, but their online guidance is a helping hand.

Based on feedback around the introduction of the earlier Key Lines of Enquiry inspection model, Skills for Care recognised a need to support providers on what the CQC might be looking for that goes beyond their online guidance.

This led to the creation of our ‘Good’ and ‘Outstanding’ care range of resources, which now includes guides, tools, seminars, eLearning modules, checklists, and action plan templates.

Something new

The Single Assessment Framework represents an evolution of CQC inspection, both in terms of process and what inspectors will be looking at. If you’ve been through an inspection previously, the experience will not be radically different, but you’ll need to evidence some things that have previously not featured.

Think about what evidence you currently have to demonstrate to the CQC around the following: workforce wellbeing, how you promote equality, diversity, and inclusion in the staff team, how you ensure equity of outcomes and experience, and how you empower people to speak up.

If you’re brimming with confidence on these matters and can’t wait to share what you do with inspectors, you should be in a good place. If you have doubts, then Skills for Care’s newly-updated resources may help you to reflect on what might be needed.

Tooling up

Skills for Care’s GO Online: Inspection toolkit represents our own evolution of what providers wanted around CQC inspection.

Building upon earlier guidance and advice, the Inspection toolkit is a free online source of recommendations, practical examples and resources related to each part of the Single Assessment Framework, including trusted resources from scie, NICE, The Outstanding Society, and others.

Whether you’re looking for a short two-minute introduction to get your head around a particular Quality Statement, or you want to take a deep dive into what you could be doing to demonstrate compliance to the CQC, the Inspection toolkit is a regularly updated source of good and best practice.

Released in March 2023 to encourage providers to start gathering evidence for the Single Assessment Framework, over 15,000 users have begun using the Inspection toolkit to benefit their business. Access via www.skillsforcare.org.uk/inspect

A trusted companion

Skills for Care’s Good and Outstanding care guide has also received a major overhaul due to the new inspection changes.

Co-produced with The Outstanding Society for the first time, the guide showcases what you can do to embed the changes into your service. The guide acts as a companion to the Inspection toolkit, helping frontline managers and those tasked with ensuring the service meets CQC inspection understand what’s needed.

There’s insight into the practical ways you can discuss the changes with the people you support, other managers and your staff teams to tease out what you could evidence. You can learn more about how to develop expertise on each Quality Statement topic, strengthening skills at different levels across your workforce. For those involved in quality assurance, there’s downloadable checklists to use or embed into your own processes.

The Good and Outstanding care guide is exclusively available to Skills for Care’s Registered Manager Members as a free PDF resource.

Find out more about Membership via www.skillsforcare.org.uk/membership



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