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13th June 2019

Road to Outstanding


Every year I embark on a journey, an endless tradition to see family over the holiday period which takes a whole lot of planning. It is never just a straight forward journey, ensuring all the necessities are packed and neatly organised as we clamber into the car. The social care journey for providers also relies heavily on planning for the road ahead and ultimately becomes a journey of continual development and improvement, but one that can generate some amazing results!


Planning for inspection

Preparation is crucial to the success of any journey and for social care providers the ethos that they should be delivering high standards of care whether they are being inspected or not, is something that should be embedded within their core business culture. Planning is key to achieving this and some useful areas that will start preparing your business include:

  • Reading through all relevant legislation, regulations and guidance available to develop your understanding of the requirements
  • Where you have a previous inspection report, review the findings and ensure any areas of improvement have been successfully addressed
  • Read inspection reports from other services to identify good and poor practise
  • Plan mock inspections and quality assurance practises for specific areas that might be looked at as part of the regulatory inspection
  • Invest time in any areas of improvement that have been identified and ensure documenting, reviewing and reporting is common practise across the service.


Evidence gathering

Alongside planning and preparation, evidencing what you are doing or have achieved is crucial; without an evidence trail there is no proof to suggest that what you are saying has ultimately happened. Accurate and meaningful records are a way of evidencing these practises and must always be available.

A process of evidence gathering must also be embedded across the organisation to ensure that you are always prepared. An evidence file is a good way of keeping all this information together, this can encompass pieces of best practise that have been completed by the organisation as well as policies and procedures that are the fundamental aspects of the business and meet the regulator’s key standards.

Although not an exhaustive list, the CQC sources of evidence document allows providers to understand what inspector’s assess as part of their regulatory visits, in relation to the Key Lines Of Enquiry (KLOEs). Using this as a guide to building your evidence file would be the first step to meeting the requirements, whilst also documenting the ‘above and beyond’ elements that set you apart from other providers.


Tips to outstanding

The journey to being outstanding will not always be easy and will demonstrate that you meet the criteria of being ‘exceptionally good’. Services at this end of the spectrum are innovative and exceptional, delivering care beyond what is expected.  As a provider you need to be thinking outside of the box and evidencing best practise ideas that showcase your service positively.

Working collaboratively with others to ensure service users have the best experience possible is paramount. There will always be improvement areas and hurdles to cross along the journey, this is inevitable, however evidencing these and the action taken to mitigate them is important to becoming an outstanding service.

Some useful tips to achieving an outstanding rating include:

  • Having an open culture
  • Learning from mistakes
  • Implementing improvement by drawing on expertise and good practise
  • Demonstrating person centred care that allows people to maintain their life choices in a meaningful way.

The Skills for Care Good and Outstanding Care Guide is another useful document to ensuring that your service is improving along the journey to outstanding. So, as you continue down the road of social care, remember that planning, preparation and evidence are key factors in succeeding on the journey.

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

Emily Kerrigan

Domiciliary Care Policy Lead

Emily has a background in quality and compliance with specific expertise in audit. Her previous roles have included working with domiciliary care branches that required improvement and supporting them to action plan and improve their quality and compliance. Working at one of the largest UK domiciliary care providers ensured Emily was exposed to significant numbers of CQC, CIW and Care Inspectorate Scotland inspections. She led internal audits bench marking against regulatory standards , supporting managers in the drive to deliver high quality care and support. Emily has a proven track record in supporting the transformation of branches that require improvement, moving them to compliant and on the journey to outstanding. Read more

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