New CQC assessment framework requires care provider preparation – Anthony Collins Solicitor


The rollout of the Care Quality Commission’s (CQC) new single rating framework is underway, but many social care providers believe that the new approach relies too heavily on past performance and that the new rating scale is I am concerned that it may be distorted.

How are social care providers evaluated?

Under the new framework, the performance of social care providers will be assessed based on perceived risk, based on five key questions and a selection of 34 'quality statements'. The core questions remain the same (safe, effective, caring, responsive, and competent), but ratings are determined by how well a provider meets the supporting quality statements.

In the initial assessment carried out, the CQC did not consider all 34 statements. Instead, we consider an average of 9 to 10 quality statements. The following five quality statements have been included in every assessment ever conducted and should be treated as priority areas.

  • protection
  • Fairness of experience and results
  • Involving people in risk management
  • Safe and effective staffing
  • independence, choice, control

New framework has a bad reputation

The new rating system is not very well received as many social care providers are currently under pressure. Because the CQC only rates providers based on a small number of 34 quality statements, many are concerned that its ratings may be inaccurate. For example, if a provider previously scored poorly in a certain area, that will carry over into the new rating, regardless of any improvements they have made previously.

These concerns are shared by the CQC, which has indicated that it will ensure that areas with poor performance in past inspections are reviewed, but it remains to be seen how this will be achieved in practice.

How can providers prepare for future assessments?

Healthcare providers concerned about the evaluation process should thoroughly review the quality statement. Supporting evidence that best demonstrates the provision of quality care must be prepared. This preparation may include:

  • Demonstrate good performance on each of the five priority quality statements.
  • Consider past problem areas and relate them to one of your new quality statements to provide evidence of superior performance.

If there are areas that have scored negatively in the past, you should pay special attention to demonstrating the steps you have taken to improve performance. This should be supported by feedback from service users, third party experts and other stakeholders. CQC has indicated that future assessments will be more extensive than those seen to date, but providers should be prepared to request that CQC widen the scope of assessments to ensure performance improvements are included. must be kept.

Under the new rating system, providers currently rated as 'good' or 'outstanding' will not be satisfied as just one negative score on a single quality statement can skew the overall rating. I can't afford to stay there. For example, a quality statement score of 1 means the overall rating is no better than "Requires Improvement." A quality statement score of 2 means it cannot achieve an "excellent" rating.

Important points

CQC's assessment framework is relatively new and, to some extent, the real challenge is still to come. The pandemic has left a large backlog and it will take time for the CQC to reassess all care and support providers.

Social service providers should consider:

  • Prepare evidence of superior performance for each of the five priority quality statements.
  • If a provider has received poor ratings in the past, identify which new quality statements are most relevant and provide hard evidence of superior performance.
  • Managers should be prepared to appeal to the CQC if the results of the assessment do not accurately represent current performance.

For more information, please contact Tim Coolican or Freya Cassia.

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