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CQC Evidence Categories 6: Feedback from Partners.

With the Care Quality Commission (CQC) announcing this week that they have now started using the new assessment approach across the whole of England, it is increasingly important for health and social care providers to understand what is required of them within the new framework.


In this blog we will take a look at the evidence category, feedback from partners, and consider what this might require from providers of social care in the way of evidence collection as well as how Bettal may be able to help with fulfilling these requirements.


Remember feedback from partners is only one of six evidence categories, each of which require the attention of the provider / registered manager:

• People's experience of health and care services.

• Feedback from staff and leaders.

• Feedback from partners.

• Observation.

• Processes.

• Outcomes.


In some ways this may be the most difficult of the evidence categories for social care providers to engage with, but engaging with it may prove important for the development of the service and its ongoing place in the local care environment.


What feedback from partners entails


The CQC identify this category as one in which they, not the provider gather evidence through interviews and engagement events. This might suggest to some providers that they should ignore this evidence category – at Bettal, we think this would be a mistake.


The CQC released in December documents which identify their priority areas for evidence collection according to the particular service types they inspect. It remains to be seen what is meant by priority.


If you are a homecare, domiciliary provider, the quality statements which you can expect to be inspected for using the evidence category feedback from partners according to the priority list include:

• Safe systems, pathways and transitions.

• How staff, teams and services work together.

• Supporting people to live healthier lives.

• Kindness, compassion and dignity.

• Treating people as individuals.

• Care provision, integration and continuity.

• Partnership and communities.


This identifies that providers need to focus their attention in these areas and their associated quality statements in order to gain a favourable inspection.


Who partners are


Many providers do not see themselves as working with partners and in discussions struggle to identify what this means. The CQC define partners as, for example:

• Commissioners.

• Other local providers.

• Professional regulators.

• Accreditation bodies.

• Royal colleges.

• Multi-agency bodies.


For many providers in social care this will mean considering their interactions with their commissioners as well as people representing the organisations that interact with the service, for example:

• Community Nurses.

• Foot Health Practitioners.

• General Practitioners.

• Other Social Care Agencies.

• Community Dentists.

• Hospice Staff.


This category refers to other health and social care professionals who work with the service.


Why collecting feedback from partners is important


Any service which leaves the collection of feedback about their service to the CQC may be in for a pleasant surprise but equally may be in for a shock. It is all-to-easy to ignore this category of evidence and take the view that what will be will be – at Bettal, we think this would be a mistake.


Seeking and collecting feedback proactively has many benefits for the social care provider, this includes, but is not limited to the fact that getting some negative feedback gives you the time to do something about it. This might mean addressing a real deficit in your provision or addressing a misunderstanding.


Either way, and in common with all quality assurance processes, once you have addressed an issue you can return to the individual for feedback again. This has two benefits; one they can see you have taken the issue seriously and may provide positive feedback as a result.

Secondly if approached by the CQC for comment the partner can comment positively on the issue as well as that when you seek feedback you do something about it.


Providers might also use positive feedback, or the fact they seek feedback and act on it as a way of challenging the factual accuracy of any report that suggests they do otherwise.


How to collect feedback from people


There are many ways in which good services collect feedback from partners these might include, but are not limited to:

• Contract monitoring reports.

• Through comments, suggestions and complaints.

• Keeping notes of informal discussions.

• Seeking more formal verbal feedback.

• Using a survey tool.


The best providers will collate all of the feedback they collect in this way into one place.


They will consider the content of the feedback and is this as part of the continuous improvement programme, recording the feedback as lessons learnt (where this is the case).



Of course, some feedback may be spurious, and it is for the provider to ask questions about the motivations of the partner in providing it and whether it has any benefit for them in improving their service.


Summary


Failing to engage with the collection of feedback from partners who access and work with a service means providers could be missing feedback which may be useful for their continuous improvement. Not only that but it may also mean that when the CQC seek and gain such feedback the provider is at a loss as to how to respond.


Services need to consider the need for feedback and the ways in which they will:

• Collect

• Collate and

• Apply it.


Providers need to collect feedback from partners in a variety of way and consider the validity and usefulness to their service of doing so.


Bettal Quality Consultancy has a comprehensive and regularly updated suite of policies, procedures, and risk assessments, as well as survey tools, to support busy registered managers and their teams in the provision of compliant care.


If you would like to know more, browse our website or get in touch:


Telephone: 01697741411

Peter Ellis MA MSc BSc(Hons) RN

Consultant at Bettal Quality Consultancy

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