CQC announces their priorities underlying the new system for inspecting adult social care services

Andrea Sutcliffe, the Chief Inspector of Adult Social Care, has today outlined her priorities for CQC’s new system for monitoring, inspecting and regulating adult social care services, with a clear focus on public involvement and improvement.

The new system will be officially launched next Autumn.  Services will be given an Ofsted-style rating of outstanding, good, requires improvement or inadequate.  This mirrors the system being rolled out in hospitals.  The current 16 essential standards will be replaced with judgements which will deem whether services are:

  • safe
  • caring
  • effective
  • well led
  • responsive to people’s needs

As part of these changes, CQC will look into how its ratings can encourage services to improve and influence the timing of future inspections.  CQC aim to have inspected all 25,000 care homes, nursing homes and domiciliary care agencies by March 2016.  This is intended to help people make informed decisions about their care.

Ms Sutcliffe’s plans are set out in the CQC document ‘A Fresh Start for the Regulation and Inspection of Adult Social Care’, available on the CQC website.  A full public consultation to discuss and explore these proposals will take place in Spring 2014.  Ms Sutcliffe states “A Fresh Start sets out my initial priorities so that we can build confidence in CQC’s role and support our staff to deliver.

Plans and priorities set out in the ‘Fresh Start’ document include:

  • From April 2015 CQC intend to monitor the finances of approximately 50-60 care providers that would be difficult to replace if they were to go out of business (subject to the Care Bill becoming law).
  • CQC will take a tougher stance when registering services.  They will ensure applicants have the right values, motives, abilities and experience.
  • CQC intend to take tougher action against services without a registered manager in place.
  • The risks and potential benefits of the use of hidden cameras and mystery shoppers to monitor care will be discussed.
  • Providers of residential care homes will be encouraged to explore how they can involve residents in the local community.

Commenting on the potential use of hidden cameras in care homes, Ms Sutcliffe acknowledged the potential of secret filming demonstrated by the events at Winterbourne View, but stated “We have to consider the privacy and dignity and how we can balance these.”

Ms Sutcliffe stated “this is a fresh start for how care homes, home care and other adult social care services are inspected and regulated across the country.  I will be leading CQC’s new approach by making more use of people’s views and by using expert inspection teams involving people who have personal experience of care….Adult social care is the largest and fastest growing sector that CQC regulates and so it is imperative that we get it right.”

Care and Support Minister, Norman Lamb, said “Confidence in the regulation regime has been shaken, but we have turned a corner.  I welcome the chief inspector’s new commitment to protecting people vulnerable to abuse and neglect.”

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