Chris Gowlett
Oct 24

Unravelling the New CQC Inspection Framework: What Every Care Manager Should Know

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) is evolving its approach to inspections to meet the dynamic challenges of today’s health and social care environment. Let’s dive deep into this new framework and the intricate changes set to impact care managers.

The Path to a New Framework

In the wake of the pandemic, the CQC recognised the need for change, moving away from their traditional routine inspections. This decision heralded the birth of a framework that promotes a dynamic, data-centric strategy, fundamentally rooted in patient experiences.

Breakdown of the New Framework Components:

Inspection Frequency & Methodology:

Traditional Approach: Inspections were typically guided by a provider's previous ratings and any perceived risk factors.
New Approach: While inspections remain pivotal, the CQC aims to paint a broader picture through ongoing assessments. These assessments may encompass methods like direct observations, systematic feedback from staff, and evidence submissions from providers themselves.

Safety, Learning, and Continual Improvement:

Key Focus: Beyond just safety, care providers are now encouraged to foster a culture of continual learning and improvement.
Implication for Managers: Regular staff training sessions, feedback loops, and proactive policy reviews will be essential.

The Overhauled Rating System:

Old vs. New: While the familiar categories (Outstanding, Good, Requires Improvement, Inadequate) persist, the journey to these ratings will witness significant alterations. This encompasses a fresh evidence-scoring mechanism, adjusted factual accuracy processes, and evolved roles for CQC inspectors.

Introduction of the Single Assessment Framework:

Consolidation: This model amalgamates previous frameworks into one comprehensive set of standards, making it easier for care providers to gauge and achieve ‘quality’ care benchmarks.

Transitioning from KLOEs:

What’s Changing: The time-tested KLOEs are making way for the new Quality Statements and Topic Areas.
Benefit for Managers: This restructured approach seeks to provide clearer, more direct routes to understanding and achieving compliance, making the process less ambiguous.

Augmented Engagement & Feedback Protocols:

Emphasis on Insights: The CQC’s revamped strategy puts a spotlight on gaining a more holistic understanding through varied feedback channels.
For Managers: This mandates creating open channels for feedback from patients, staff, and healthcare partners, ensuring a 360-degree view.

Managerial Preparation for the CQC Shift:

Stay Proactive: Actively subscribe to and engage with CQC bulletins, webinars, and workshops.
Quality Statement Review: Analyse and map your current systems to the new quality statements. Identify areas of enhancement.
Engage Your Team: Continuous dialogue with your team not only prepares them for inspections but also ensures they are allies in upholding care standards.

When are These Changes Likely to Start?

In their latest update in October 2023, the CQC stated:

'From 21 November we will start using our new single assessment framework in our South region (Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Cornwall, Devon, Dorset, Gloucestershire, Hampshire, Kent, Oxfordshire, Somerset, Surrey, Sussex and Wiltshire).

Between 21 November and 4 December we will undertake a small number of planned assessments with early adopter providers, while continuing to respond to risk. We will then expand our new assessment approach to all providers based on a risk-informed schedule.

We will be in contact and inviting providers to be early adopters separately.

This will be an opportunity for those early adopters to get an experience of our new ways of working and for us to hear feedback about the process.'

It is unlikely that any other areas will experience the new framework until at least Spring 2024 as it stands. Until then, the current inspection criteria including the KLOE's will continue to be used.

How CareTrainer Fits into the New CQC Landscape

As the care environment shifts, tools like CareTrainer can be a manager's best ally. Now more than ever the ability to be in control of your staff training and to be able to adapt it based on the needs of your staff and service users is crucially important.

CareTrainer provides your internal trainers with the resources and ongoing continuous improvement needed to ensure staff remain up to date, compliant, and above all, empowered to deliver exemplary care. You can find out more about how CareTrainer can help your company by visiting our website.