CQC has at last published guidance to providers on how it monitors, inspects and regulates adult social care services. The new guidance I believe represents a major shift in the regulators approach to inspection. The guidance ‘How CQC monitors, inspects and regulates adult social care services’ November 2017, suggests a movement away from the frequency of inspection to more reliance upon information that is returned by providers.
Insight CQC will use Insight to monitor potential changes to the quality of care. The CQC Insight system is designed to bring together information about a service in one place, and analyse it. This helps the regulator to decide what, where and when to inspect and provides analysis to support the evidence in inspection reports. To monitor changes in the quality of care, inspectors will check CQC Insight regularly. If it suggests that the quality of care in a service has improved or declined, inspectors may follow this up between inspections or ask providers to give them further information or explain the reasons for the change. They may also decide to re-inspect the service, if there are significant concerns, or may carry out a focused inspection.
Provider information collection (PIC) The provider information collection (PIC) allows social care providers to submit up-to-date information about the quality of care their service provides at a location. The PIC builds on and replaces the previous provider information return (PIR). PIC information is reviewed and analysed before being passed to inspectors as part of the regular updates they receive about the services they inspect. Providers should be in no doubt of the importance that CQC place upon the provider information collection and must update the PIC at least annually. If they do not do so, their rating for the well-led key question will be no better than requires improvement at the next inspection.
Inspection The biggest change to inspection is the frequency in which it is carried out. A service will have a comprehensive inspection at the following frequencies:
Services rated as good and outstanding – normally within 30 months of the last comprehensive inspection report being published.
Services rated as requires improvement – normally within 12 months of the last comprehensive inspection report being published.
Services rated as inadequate – normally within 6 months of the last comprehensive inspection report being published.
Newly registered services and those no longer dormant – the first comprehensive inspection will normally be scheduled between 6 to 12 months from the date of registration.