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Your CQC Inspection: The Ratings on the Wall

June 1, 2021June 30, 2021No comments

CQC – for some organisations, this can seem like the stuff of nightmares. For others, a walk in the park. But what do CQC actually do, what are they responsible for and what can you expect from a CQC Inspection? 

To provide certain services to Adults at risk, you must be registered with the Care Quality Commission, which will essentially ensure that you can provide these services effectively and that you continue to do so in a safe manner.  

Who are the Care Quality Commission?

CQC are the governing body for companies that are providing regulatory care services to vulnerable people. This covers services such as medication administration and personal care. The CQC was established in April 2009 and replaced three former regulatory bodies.

The CQC is responsible for the registration, inspection and monitoring of health and adult social care providers, including independent providers, under the Health and Social Care Act 2008. (research briefings.files.parliament.UK)

What can you expect from a CQC inspection?

Your inspector from CQC will visit periodically to inspect your service, following the five key lines of enquiry – Safe, Caring, Effective, Well-led and responsive. In normal times (pre covid), you could expect your inspector to be with you in the service for between 1-3 days.

During an inspection, CQC will look at everything from your policies and procedures to your safeguarding folder and the quality of care you provide. They will also communicate with your clients to ensure they are happy with the provided standards of care. The CQC is not known for leaving any stone unturned, so honesty and clarity is always the best policy to adopt. If CQC finds a thread, you can rest assured they will pull it until there is nothing left – so don’t tie yourself up in knots. 

The CQC has also published Information for adult social care services during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, which provides guidance on areas including personal protective equipment (PPE), testing for social care staff, and hospital patients’ discharge into care homes. Further guidance for providers is available on its website. (

Improve your Ratings with some quick, easy steps

Be open and honest with your inspector as part of your Duty of Candour. If you know there are holes in your services and improvements can be made, find them and create an action plan to address them before CQC arrive. CQC prefer to see that challenges are being worked on and that staff are aware of them, rather than the inspector being the one to point out the mistakes. 

Keep your paperwork up to date – don’t leave your filing until the last minute. In the words of my CQC inspector, “if it’s not written down, it didn’t happen”. Well, if it’s not filed, CQC won’t go looking for it to help you out – to them, it hasn’t happened. 

Educate your staff. Communicate with them, involve them and listen to them. Implement a newsletter discussing different topics, review the key lines of inquiry, and train them to do their job well and explain how to do their job. Most of us in care can spot a safeguarding a mile off, but if you ask us to explain what we mean, we clam up. Help your staff to push through this barrier. 

CQC is not feared if you can ensure you are doing your best for your staff and clients. We make mistakes, and your inspector is human too. Be open, honest and listen to feedback. Challenge when you feel able and don’t try to hide things – CQC will find it, and you can bet they will then start looking for more. 

Aim for an outstanding rating – it’s closer than you think!

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