The Care Inspectorate Wales (CIW) has been planning for the introduction of ratings for care homes and domiciliary support services. It expects the whole process to ‘go live’ in April 2024, and from that date, any inspection will result in ratings being given for each of the four themes – ‘Well-being’, ‘Care and Support’, ‘Leadership and Management’ and ‘Environment’, although the Well-being theme will be rated based on evidence gathered under the other themes, and not evidence specifically relating to well-being.
It must also be noted that there need to be new regulations to allow the publication of ratings, but the Welsh Ministers aim to introduce these by April 2024 to permit the CIW to proceed with rating services.
As part of the journey to reach this vision of all services being rated when inspected after March 2024, the CIW has released interim guidance on ratings that explains more about what the ratings will be, the process that will be followed and how ratings will be decided.
The CIW is currently testing its ideas and they will be independently evaluated between September and December 2023, and further refined prior to full rollout in April 2024. During this ‘test and evaluation’ period, all ratings will be classed as ‘silent ratings’, and they will not be shared or published in reports. However, if you are inspected between now and April 2024, you will be told during your post-inspection feedback what your proposed ratings would be.
The four ratings are going to be: ‘Excellent’, ‘Good’, ‘Needs Improvement’ and ‘Poor’ and the CIW has shared what is meant by each of these ratings for all the themes. Basically, to be rated ‘excellent’ the evidence found during the inspection needs to show services are exceptional, innovative or highly effective. To be ‘good’, services need to support people well and be consistently well managed. To be rated as ‘needs improvement’, the evidence will need to indicate that the quality is inconsistent and not always effective. To be ‘poor’, there will be evidence that there are widespread, significant shortfalls in quality and immediate action is needed to improve.
There is a ‘second step’ to assessing the rating for a service that is based upon CIW’s ‘regulatory duty’. In practice, this means that if a service is not meeting regulations and is issued with a priority action notice, the theme must be rated as ‘poor’.
In the guidance released by CIW it states that the four themes will be rated, but it does not state that services will receive an overall rating. However, this may change, and we will keep you informed of any developments.
The CIW has also stated that services will not be able to directly challenge or appeal the rating given, and the only way that reports will be able to be changed is through the existing factual accuracy process.
Even though the earliest services will receive a published rating in April next year, it is advised that you prepare as much as possible and understand what the CIW is planning so you are aware of the changes, and what you should be doing. You can read the full interim guidance here and sign up for newsletters from the Care Inspectorate Wales here.
At QCS, we will also keep you informed of any changes that are relevant for you, and ensure that our management system reflects and supports the latest CIW thinking.