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Your workforce is the key to being outstanding

Rob Hargreaves, Project Manager at Skills for Care

Your staff are your most valuable resource and vital to the quality of care and support you provide, so it’s important that you recruit the right people, develop their skills and lead them effectively. Getting this combination right can help you achieve an outstanding CQC rating.

Rob Hargreaves, Project Manager at Skills for Care, tells us some of the things outstanding providers do to go that extra mile.

‘Without exception’, ‘highly proactive’ and ‘exceptional level of detail’ are some of the phrases the CQC use to describe outstanding services. They’re innovative and exceptional and go the extra mile to deliver care above and beyond what’s expected.

Claire Jackson, Registered Manager at Inter-County Nursing and Care Services, told us:

“To achieve an outstanding rating, the CQC looks for evidence that exceeds expected standards and requirements, for services who explore and implement ideas that are ‘outside of the box’ and who work in collaboration with others so that people get better care and support.

“They set clear and realistic action plans and continually monitor and review their performance using the ‘Mum Test’ as a benchmark. They encourage their team to share ideas, best practice and develop quality improvements.

“They do effective reporting, recording and auditing to evidence their achievements and are committed to continuous improvement.

“Above all else, they instil passion and commitment for quality care in their teams and encourage them to be the best that they can be.”

This highlights the importance of your workforce in achieving an outstanding rating. You need leaders who are innovative, managers who lead by example and motivated staff who are committed to providing the best quality care and support.

There’s no single ‘thing’ you can do to make that jump from ‘good’ to ‘outstanding’ – it depends on what’s already there and the resources you have to make significant changes.

Here are some of the things that other outstanding services do which have contributed to this rating. They:

  • think creatively about managing and reducing risks
  • regularly monitor performance, including using external expertise, and use this to make improvements
  • have a highly skilled, motivated and confident workforce
  • ensure staff build trusting relationships with the people they support, and enable continuity of care
  • have systems and processes that champion and enable choice, flexibility and control
  • support people to engage with their communities and with family and friends
  • employ distinctive leaders who are committed to embedding a strong person-centred culture
  • involve people who need care and support in shaping the service.

Some of these things could be supported by small improvements. For example after a manual handling review, Middleton Hall Retirement Village invested in new ceiling hoists, which has improved quality of care. Manager, Audra Hunt, explained:

“We continually monitor our service to utilise our staff skills and resources, and improve quality of care. We recently did a manual handling review and staff told us that some people found hoists undignified and they require two staff, so we invested in new ceiling hoists. This provides a more person-centred and dignified approach, and it can be operated by one carer which makes a more effective use of care time.”

Some other improvements might require a bigger investment.

For example one CQC report told of a homecare agency rated ‘good’, who decided to invest in improving the consistency of their staffing as a key area for improvement. They restructured their team and revised their care model so that people were supported by consistent staff. This took more time and resources, but had a positive impact on staff and the people they supported and was celebrated in their next CQC inspection.

If you need support to improve your CQC rating, Skills for Care’s ‘Good and outstanding care’ guide can help. Download your copy from www.skillsforcare.org.uk/GO.





Edel Harris





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