CQC has reduced its inspection targets for the rest of 2014-15 as it seeks to ease pressure on its workforce and struggles to recruit enough high calibre staff.
David Behan speaking to HSJ, said that CQC’s original plan had been “recalibrated” because “we have not recruited the numbers of staff during the early parts of this year we anticipated”. He said that the reason for this was because CQC had set “high standards” for new recruits. He said: “We’ve been clear that I’m not going to drop the standards on who comes to work in the CQC.”
CQC previously had recruitment problems in 2012. An internal investigation revealed that more than 100 inspectors who had not met its recruitment standards at that time. Mr Behan explained that these revelations had been “difficult” for the regulator and that some inspectors during inspections are “…asked when they go and inspect: ‘when were you appointed?’”
CQC’s decision to reduce the number of inspections in the second half of this year was also a response to staff concerns about their workloads. He said that some inspection teams had between two and four vacancies out of a full complement of eight.
Although CQC will inspect fewer sites in the second half of this year than initially planned, David Behan said its more intensive approach meant the number of inspection days would be increased from last year. While it was unable to say how many fewer inspections it would undertake it expected that a larger proportion of inspections would be because of concerns rather than scheduled inspections.
Despite the issues with recruiting staff, Mr Behan said he remained confident that CQC would recruit a “full workforce”. He said: “If I look at some of the management positions we’ve just filled – deputy chief inspectors, heads of inspection – we’ve got no shortage of talented people to come and work for CQC. I said it would take three years to introduce these changes. We’re halfway though, it’s always a difficult period halfway through any change programme.”