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15th June 2021

CQC Strategy…did you catch it?

Catch up TV 

If you didn’t catch the Care Quality Commission’s webinar on the launch of the CQC strategy 2021… don’t worry! Like iPlayer and Netflix the CQC have come through and you can watch it on catch up on YouTube here.

Or the written word

If watching Ian Trenholme the CQC Chief Inspector along with a heavyweight cast from all sectors is not your thing, a new strategy for the changing world of health and social care - CQC's strategy from 2021 can be found directly on their homepage.

Team Effort

Ian Trenholm acknowledged the strategy was a ‘Team Effort’ of service user, public, provider and partnership coproduction, reflecting voices and lived experience. He was keen to stress there was a lot of work to be done, and further engagement with stakeholders.

To get to grips with everything within the strategy go to the CQC strategy page, but here I will tell you what stood out to me.

So what came up?


This was not branded as an out with the old and in with the new, but an evolution of the assessment framework adapted to meet the needs of service users and addressing inequalities in local systems.

Within this, key elements of safety – including closed communities, how local systems work together and addressing inequalities threaded through the webinar.

It was acknowledged that the 5 key questions worked well but the Key Lines of Enquiry would be refined to reflect what really matters to people who use the service. Inequalities in provision and local systems working together.

Bottom line: 

  • Be prepared for a reduced set of KLOEs whose content although harks back to some familiarity, includes changed and meatier statements
  • Greater emphasis on what matters to people as they access, use and move between services looking at risk and harm to them and what drives quality of improvement
  • CQC want to see how your service reflects the lived experience of people who use the service and meets the needs of people in the community – not how you want to run it

Don’t worry – we have been promised a pilot of how this works – and further engagement with CQC.

Remember QCS are tracking this work and will be ready with a package to suit the needs of your service.

Regulatory Tool Box

This was mentioned a few times – it means an approach would be selected depending on the circumstances, the point was made that inspection would only be necessary where other methods could not gain the same information.

Bottom Line: 

  • Automatic inspection frequencies will be done away with and replaced with action informed by risk
  • This could be a desk based assessment of the information held in a focused area with the use of tech to reach out to stakeholders including people who use the service

Dynamic Process

We have heard it before, but this time CQC mean business. Being smart with their information sources with a ‘live’ approach to information – using information smartly from varying high quality sources. CQC have invested heavily in tech in recent years.

CQC pledge to have meaningful engagement with those who have lived experience (a phrase that was used a lot) to increase the quality of engagement and the information that comes from it.

Bottom Line

  • CQC will have a new provider portal where information can be uploaded in real time
  • Ratings would be updated when there is evidence that shows a change in quality. And not always related to an inspection
  • Be prepared for the way ratings are worded to change too to make them meaningful for all

All at once?

No. Don’t panic. Year one will see;

  • Monitor risk and testing a new assessment framework at provider and local area level
  • Piloting the assessment framework
  • A new Provider Portal and mobile friendly website (independent voice report)
  • Safety and improvement engagement – looking at the definition and language for each sector

I’ve packed more in here than my son does in his holiday backpack – so ensure you visit CQC for the full strategy and to have your voice heard.

*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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