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Preparing for a CQC Inspection: Our Top Tips

George Griffiths

30 September 2020

Preparing for a CQC Inspection: Our Top Tips

George Griffiths

30 September 2020

Preparing for a CQC inspection is something all adult social care providers should know how to do.

The Care Quality Commission, or CQC, is the independent regulator of health and social care in England. 

The CQC carries out inspections to ensure that the services it regulates are providing a high quality of care. This can be daunting for organisations - but with the right preparation it doesn’t have to be.

Here are our top tips for preparing for a CQC inspection.

What will happen during a CQC inspection?

Inspections are usually unannounced, although the CQC may sometimes give notice. The inspection may be carried out by a team or a single inspector, depending on the size and complexity of your organisation.

At the beginning of the inspection, the inspector or team will usually meet with senior staff members. They’ll explain the purpose and scope of the inspection, and how they’ll communicate their findings.

They will then gather evidence to ascertain how well the service is performing. This can include:

  • Gathering the views of people who use the service
  • Gathering information from staff
  • Observing care
  • Inspecting the places where people are cared for
  • Looking at individual care pathways
  • Looking at policies and documents
  • Reviewing records

At the end of the inspection, the inspector or inspection team will hold a feedback meeting with senior staff to go over their findings. They will highlight any issues and outline actions the organisation needs to take.

What is the focus of a CQC inspection?

CQC inspections focus on the experiences of people who receive care from the organisation, and the impact the care has on their health and wellbeing.

The CQC will always ask these five key questions about the service:

  • Is it safe?
  • Is it effective?
  • Is it caring?
  • Is it responsive to people’s needs?
  • Is it well-led?

Each of these questions is broken down into a series of further questions. These are the CQC’s key lines of enquiry, or KLOEs.

Preparing for a CQC inspection: Five tips

As inspections are usually unannounced, it’s best to make sure your organisation is always ready.

Here are our five top tips for preparing for a CQC inspection:

1. Speak to the people who use your service: The people who use your service will be the focus of the inspection - so put them at the heart of your preparations as well. Talk to them about their experience of using the service and how it meets their needs, and put together an action plan based on what they say. This will enable you to give examples of good practice during the inspection.

2. Get all staff involved and make sure they’re prepared: All staff members should understand the CQC’s role and the five key questions, and should know what to expect from an inspection. 

3. Acknowledge issues: Regularly talk to staff about any issues or concerns that have arisen and assess risks to people who use your service. Where necessary, come up with plans to address these. This will demonstrate to the CQC that you have recognised areas for improvement and are taking action.

4. Make sure your paperwork is up-to-date: It’s vital to have documentary evidence that demonstrates compliance. It’s a good idea to have a CQC folder containing relevant information to show during an inspection. This could include policies and procedures, details of projects and feedback from clients and families. Make sure records are up-to-date and accurate, and that staff know where to find key information.

5. Hold a mock inspection: This could be carried out by a competent person in your organisation or an external company. The mock inspector should speak with managers, staff members and the people using your service. They should use the five key questions as a framework for assessment, and present an objective report on the service that can be used to identify areas for improvement.

Using technology to streamline the process

A CQC inspection is an opportunity for your organisation to demonstrate how it provides high quality care and meets the needs of the people who use its services.

Ultimately, the care you provide will speak for itself - but there are tools you can use to streamline the process of evidencing it.

uRosterCare is our easy-to-use home care software. It has a comprehensive reporting suite featuring a library of reports built in line with CQC’s KLOEs, enabling you to prepare the necessary documents quickly and easily.

We’ve also built our software in line with Skills for Care's ASC-WDS requirements, enabling you to upload your workforce information in bulk to the database.

uRosterCare also offers the option to download all of this data in the same format required by the bulk upload CSV, so you won’t have to spend precious time doing it manually. 

CQC accesses this data before inspecting services, and it will work in your favour to have this as up-to-date as possible. Our system removes the stress of updating it when your service is inspected.

If you would like to know more about uRosterCare, get in touch today - we’d love to chat.

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