The Care Quality Commission (CQC) released its new assessment strategy back in May 2021. Its regulatory role remains unchanged, but the way in which it works and inspects services is evolving to become more flexible and responsive to risk, with more frequent reviews of services. The new strategy also introduced the Single Assessment Framework (SAF): a more dynamic approach to inspection processes.

Understanding this framework is essential to your service’s compliance and ongoing engagement with the CQC.

Under the old system, inspections were the primary method of collecting evidence on service quality. These were usually scheduled according to your service’s current rating. The new approach changes this: there will be much more use of information – including people’s experience of services – as part of regular monitoring and assessment. Evidence gathering will be broader, ongoing, and submitted through a new online portal.

The old key lines of enquiry are replaced by quality statements: detailed descriptions of what high-quality care looks like in practice. The five key questions (safe, effective, caring, responsive, well-led) and the four-point ratings scale, remain, however, and there are no changes or amendments to the Health and Social Care Act 2008 (Regulated Activities) Regulations 2014.

How can we help?

The CQC are now rolling out the new approach, starting in the Southeast and aiming to implement it across all areas of England by April 2024.

Here at W&P Assessment and Training, we have run regular webinars on the new assessment framework since Spring 2022, regularly updating our training as new information is published. We’re now on the third update of these popular webinars and continue to make sure our clients remain up to date with the most recent changes.  

Join one of our webinars to make sure you’re ahead of the game! We also offer face-to-face training for managers and staff: contact us to discuss your specific needs.

We’ve also looked at our audit processes and made sure that our reports reflect your evidence for the new quality statements. We’re aware this is a big change for many providers, and we can help during audits and mock inspections to focus your approach on the SAF and quality statements.

You may be asked to submit regular evidence through the new portal as part of a CQC assessment, including your audits. This means your audits are more important now than they have ever been! Will the evidence that you submit under the new SAF tell the inspector what you want them to know? Does it show how you are meeting the new quality statements?

We also know the CQC will spend more time speaking to staff. Our new webinar – An Inspector Calls – aims to support your staff through any engagement with a CQC inspector. Dates are on our website now.

Our team are on hand to provide advice as we all steer our way through the changes. We’re also continuously reviewing our policies and procedures to make sure they reflect any changes as part of the new way of working.

Our team has extensive experience in social care, with expertise in policies and procedures, and regulatory compliance. For more information, advice, and guidance, visit of call us on 01305 767104.

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