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Giving evidence for SCSWIS inspection
Evidence-based practice has for some time been an important principle in providing social care. Recent developments have seen the importance of evidence and intelligence-based practice increasing. These changes include the implementation of the Care Act, changes in commissioning, and in how the CQC regulates services.
It is important that services have accurate and up-to-date evidence regarding their quality performance. This allows stakeholders, such as inspectors, service users and commissioners to make choices based on the correct information.
In Scotland, prior to the inspection of a registered service, the manager draws up and submits a self-assessment of the quality of the service, including their estimation of the overall grading. The aim is to include evidence to justify the quality assessment, and this is used in deciding the intensity and focus of the inspection process.
It is very important to provide good evidence, so what kind of evidence should be given? The service needs to demonstrate that it is helping people to reach good outcomes, that service users are involved in improving the quality of care, and that good practice in all areas is driving forward improvements. Demonstrating all of the above during the inspection should ensure that good grades are achieved.
Benefits of evidence
In giving evidence of improved quality, it is helpful to give actual examples of how improvement took place. For example, rather than simply stating that the quality of food has improved, good evidence can be provided for this through showing how the views of service users have been listened to, and how surveys, meetings and feedback demonstrate the improvement. Giving actual quotes from people will help.
To show the achievement of good outcomes, the assessment can provide actual examples of how practice has helped people to reach their goals and objectives, with the person's permission, of course. Specific answers to the ‘who’, ‘when’, ‘where’ and ‘how’ questions will give practical, evidenced examples of the service’s improving quality.
Practice and benchmarking
Developing practice through responding to complaints, quality assurance surveys of stakeholders, audits, and good recording practice are other important ways of evidencing improvements in the service.
This sort of self-assessment is useful in the inspection process, hopefully minimising any disagreement with the inspector. But I think it is also an important part of managing the service. Where this assessment is carried out frequently, it allows an up-to-date benchmarking, showing how the service is developing and where efforts and resources may need to be focussed.
Tony Clarke – QCS Expert Scottish Care Contributor
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