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Preparing for Inspections
t’s always nerve-wracking when you are expecting any independent inspection of your service.
I recall a time when the CQC would give you notice of a visit which would ensure you had time to prepare and gather your thoughts. Now however, the CQC regularly conduct unannounced inspections. Obviously there are positives and negatives to an unannounced visit-the main positive being there are no sleepness nights in the run up!
I believe the best way to prepare for any inspection is to start today, becoming a part of your everyday practices. Once regular auditing and good practice becomes a daily part of your routine, you will find your anxiety levels decreasing when you are due for an inspection.
Having the QCS Audits and Action Plans as a standard item on your agenda at team meetings will ensure you are regularly quality assuring your service. Discuss with your staff team the need for everyone to take responsibility for their own working practices and remind them of the importance of checking they are working towards their key targets. Everyone should share the same commitment to providing a quality service. Asking colleagues from different teams to audit another team can also be a good way of encouraging everyone in the team to get involved with regular auditing.
If you are inspected by your local authority, I would suggest you ask them if they use a standard form to audit your service with, and if you could have a copy of that form.
If you have this form, you can then conduct a mock inspection. I use my Local Authority’s Recruitment audit form as the basis for the checklist on the front of my staff files. Therefore, every time the Recruitment manager signs off a new applicant’s file, we are 100% sure that all necessary paperwork and recruitment checks were completed and our procedures had been followed in line with our Contract specifications.
I recall a teacher once advising me that you shouldn’t try to do 1 thing 100% better, you should try and do 100 things 1% better. It is hard work at the beginning, but you will see a gradual improvement in your overall service delivery if you are committed to enhancing the quality of service you provide.
On the day, I would suggest being honest with inspectors about where your service weaknesses are; which evidences that not only have you identified those weaknesses, but you are working to improve those areas with an action plan.
For any type of inspection, remaining calm under pressure on the day is easier said than done. I assure you, you will feel less anxious if you feel prepared, so start today!