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06th May 2020

What does CQC emergency Framework mean for you?

Understanding changes to CQCs processes during the COVID-19 outbreak

In a bid to respond to COVID-19 across the Health and Social Care sector, CQC have published an Emergency Framework. Rolling out from this week to Adult Social Care, and then on to other health and social care provision.

The framework gives details about how CQC will operate to find out how services are managing in the crisis and to offer support where it is needed.

CQC stress that the Framework does not result in an inspection or rating for services.

What does this mean for my service?

Like most things in life, the answer is not straightforward.  CQC Emergency Framework will be applied to you considering a number of factors.

  • What information CQC has or has been alerted to regarding your service
  • Whether you have approached CQC highlighting concerns
  • What the history of your service is showing CQC
  • What is happening in your demographic

What will CQC do?

They will assess services to see which need a call which they call a ‘supportive conversation’, based on the information they hold or are alerted to.

CQC say ‘If the inspector is confident that there is a lower risk level, they can decide not to call you, but they will be available to offer you support during this difficult period and we encourage you to call them if you would like advice.’

What if they decide I should be called?

CQC will contact you to arrange a time to talk.  Remember, this is not an inspection, but a ‘supportive conversation’.  They are using Microsoft Teams.  That means a link will be sent to you and you click on it to attend. I would make sure you are there a few minutes early to activate it.

What will they ask me?

These aren’t new areas, these are things that you do every day as part of managing the service.  They are;

  • safe care and treatment
  • staffing arrangements
  • protection from abuse
  • assurance processes, monitoring, and risk management

How long will it take?

CQC say about an hour, so make sure you have the cover you need to spend an hour with them. In an emergency or sickness, they can speak with another suitable member of staff.

Can I ask my own questions?

Absolutely, it is important that you do.  I suggest you jot down any questions you have before the call so you remember to ask them.

What happens next? 

CQC will write up the notes they have taken into a ‘summary record’ including

  • any sources of support that they suggested
  • a short summary of whether the service is ‘managing’ or ‘needs support’.

Will they publish the Summary Record?

As this is not an inspection, but a more supportive feature, the information will not be published on their website.

Inspection and enforcement

Although CQC are trying to support where providers are not coping, If CQC feel there are significant concerns they may use a follow up call but they can still use their inspection powers, and in rare cases they will continue to use enforcement.

So what do I think?

Be open and honest with CQC.  The biggest risk to people who use services is where providers refuse to believe there is a problem, or where they do not act to mitigate the risk.  Use this opportunity to seek additional support if you need it, and also to describe how you are innovating to manage.

You may just may find a new kind of relationship…where inspectors don’t bite!

*All information is correct at the time of publishing. Use of this material is subject to your acceptance of our terms and conditions.

Abi Spence

Registration and Inspection Specialist

Abi has worked for and with Government agencies relevant to social care for the past 12+ years. Primarily with the Department of Health, Social Services Inspectorate, Commission for Social Care Inspection (CSCI) and since its inception the Care Quality Commission (CQC). As part of this long involvement Abi has developed a wide and detailed understanding of relevant issues and has worked closely with stakeholders such as people that use services, carers, providers, local government, the Department of Health, Ofsted and the Audit Commission. Read more

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