Welsh regulator publishes interim guidance for care homes on ratings

Welsh Ministers aim to introduce regulations for ratings in relation to the quality of care and support provided by a service provider following an inspection in April 2024.

Care Inspectorate Wales (CIW) has published draft guidance for care home providers setting out the regulator’s approach to applying ratings to full inspections of care home services and domiciliary support services inspected under the Regulation and Inspection of Social Care (Wales) Act 2016. The draft guidance forms part of CIW’s pilot for ratings.

Phased approach to ratings

In preparation, CIW are implementing a phased approach to ratings:

  • Phase one: a system of ‘silent ‘ ratings for all care home services and domiciliary support services subject to inspection between April 2023 and March 2024. Ratings will not be included within inspection reports and will not be published on CIW website.
  • Phase two: publication of ratings for all care home services and domiciliary support services subject to inspection from April 2024.

Ratings framework

The regulator has developed a model (see annex A of the draft guidance) which sets out:

  • The ratings (excellent, good, needs improvement and poor) and underpinning descriptions proposed for use with the public.
  • Details of the four theme-level rating descriptors and underpinning descriptions for use by inspectors in rating the relevant inspection theme following an inspection.
    • They cover:
      • well-being
      • care and Support
      • leadership and Management
      • environment

A two-step approach will be followed with the step one recognising a provider’s quality and strengthens, and step two based on CIW discharging its regulatory duty and the need to offer public assurance.

While service providers are not able to directly challenge or appeal the ratings, the responding to inspection reports policy is the process by which service providers can submit comments about completeness of the evidence and/or the fairness/proportionality of the regulator’s findings which its ratings are based on.

Looking ahead

The draft guidance is subject to change and pending further evaluation which is due to take place from September 2023 until December 2023. The aim is to assess the consistency of ratings applied, as well as assessing the impact on service providers and inspection teams. Any lessons learned from this evaluation will be taken forward as part of the regulator’s scheduled inspections during 2024/25.

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