CQC is changing its inspection strategy

Last month saw the regulator announce changes to how it regulates services before rolling these out across services from July.

In response to the Covid-19 pandemic, routine inspections were suspended in March 2020 and since then, the regulator has been adapting to this with a mix of on-site and off-site inspections. On 14 June 2021 the CQC published a statement on further changes to the way that regulated services are monitored.

The statement explains the developments CQC are making in three key areas:

  • “improving our ability to monitor risk to help us be more targeted in our regulatory activity
  • bringing information together in one place for inspection teams, presented in a way that supports inspectors with their decision making
  • testing elements of how we want to work in the future, including how we provide a more up-to-date view of risk for people who use services”

Developing CQC’s monitoring approach

The regulator commits to carry out regular reviews that will help support their ability to monitor risk.

Where the information the CQC has does not find evidence that they need to re-assess the rating or quality at a service, the CQC will publish a ‘short statement’ on the profile page of the CQC’s website for these services. This information will be shared with the service provider prior to its publication. They currently plan to carry out this review each month.

Responding to risk

In cases where the information indicates that the CQC may need to re-assess a rating or the quality of care, inspectors may gather more evidence – and undertake an immediate on-site inspection that may happen at any time. It says that in these cases they may update the rating for the service.

The CQC emphasise that "inspectors' judgement will still be at the heart" of their approach to inspection, together with the improved access to information and quality assurance mechanisms, where other sources of information indicate greater levels of risk elsewhere.

The regulator plans to carry out some sampling of services by carrying out an inspection to ensure its decisions are robust and consistent – this way, it says “we’ll be able to check that our monitoring activity is consistent with our inspectors’ findings when they gather evidence either by telephone or by making an on-site visit”.

The full roll out of the CQC’s new inspection strategy will take place from 13 July – excluding primary dental services and NHS trusts.

If you would like to discuss the regulator’s new approach or issues related to it please do contact us.

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