Social Care Sector & the CQC – A Brief Look at What Health and Social Care Providers Need to Know

In 2022, CQC set out its new regulatory approach for health and care providers. Its aim remains to drive improvements across the sector but address the issues they have faced over the years such as:

·         Long gaps between inspection and rating updates;

·         Writing substantial reports;

·         Engaging in a long FAC process; and

·         Achieving more consistency in their assessments.

Most recent figures which showed in February 2023, 47% of services were rated as requires improvement or inadequate. This is in part due to ratings not having been updated post-COVID.

CQC plans to create a “single assessment framework” for all types of services (social care, healthcare and local authorities). We have compared the models below:

The advantage of this new approach is to create a broader view of a service, by updating the evidence they hold at different times, showing a more real-time view of ratings.

To implement these changes, CQC is also changing the way its regulatory and inspection teams are structured. Inspectors will now work as a team with someone called an assessor. An assessor is a sector specialist who leads on maintaining an ongoing view of quality, safety and risk in a service. The assessor will carry out the off-site evidence collection, i.e., the sort of “intelligence-gathering” that CQC is already doing. The assessor will also make the decisions about whether to bring enforcement action. 

CQC’s teams are currently transitioning into new more integrated teams. They are also currently testing parts of its new portal with providers.

The next step will be the roll out of its new regulatory platform this summer. This will be done in stages. It will be used first to submit statutory notifications. After that, they say that you will be able to review draft judgments on the portal. Later in 2023, they will start to use the new assessment framework. 

We recommend that providers have someone actively managing this new process. There will likely be a need to be more proactive in dealing with CQC as time will be of the essence once information is presented to a provider.

If you require any advice on challenging CQC’s decisions or what these changes mean for your service please do not hesitate to contact our specialist Health and Social Care Team.