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24th October 2015

New approaches to Inspection

The Care Inspectorate in Scotland regulates a wide range of care and support services in the country. There is an ongoing consultation process in reviewing the National Care Standards used in these inspections.

Developing a new inspection methodology

In preparation for the move to these new standards, the Care Inspectorate is reviewing its inspection methodology. As part of this, it is trialling some new approaches in its inspection work. These are taking place in the current inspection year of 2015/6.

Proportionate Inspections

About 100 'proportionate' inspections will be carried out in a more flexible and focussed way. The emphasis will be on looking closely at the quality assurance procedures of the service, at its service development plan, and at how the service promotes good outcomes for the people it supports.

How can this service be helped to continue its improvement processes, even when performing at a very good level?

And, where significant progress has been achieved, the lessons learned from this service can be more widely used to improve services generally. Presumably the outcomes will also feed in to how the Care Inspectorate reforms its inspection methodology in the future.

Validation Inspections

Proportionate inspections still to be carried out will look at services which have been previously graded as 'Very Good' or 'Excellent', and will be known as validation inspections. A striking feature of the validation inspections is the main focus on people, rather than on paperwork.

Inspectors and (presumably) services will welcome this focussed personal approach with more time for getting a range of views from stakeholders and people who are supported.

Other Inspections

Apart from validation inspections, there are plans to carry out 'thematic' inspections in services for people with learning disabilities. Some of these have already been carried out. Another planned approach is to take place in inspecting some early year's services, regulated by the Care inspectorate. These will result in grades for  the service, based on their performance against chosen Quality Statements and the SHANNARI well-being indicators for children and young people.(Safe, Healthy, Achieving, Nurtured, Active, Respected, Responsible, and included) . As with the other validation inspections, the focus will be on meeting people and on observing activities. Discussions will also take place with carers and parents, with social workers, commissioners and other professional stakeholders.

It is good to see the open, flexible approach being considered by the Care Inspectorate. This hopefully will reassure services and the public that inspections continue to improve its effectiveness and is committed to continue involving people in its work.

Tony Clarke – QCS Expert Scottish Care Contributor

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