Nythan Smith, Trainee Solicitor, Ridouts Professional Services PLC, provides insight into how the CQC plans to changes the way it regulates.
Even the closest of observers of CQC might have missed its recent response to “Our next phase of regulation: consultation 2” where it sets out its intentions for regulating adult social care services. This response serves as a precursor to how it will regulate and inspect providers in the near future.
CQC intends to change the definition of a provider that is required to register with CQC. It wishes to hold providers to account by capturing those entities who have the ultimate control over the provider to make financial and employment decisions in relation to the delivery of care. The term used is the ‘direction and control of care’, which is yet to be formally defined but this strategy is phased to come into force following a consultation in spring 2018.
CQC intends to assess at a provider level in addition to the current assessment at location level that is currently in force. Discussions around this appear to be in their infancy but it is demonstrative of the direction in which CQC intends to proceed in order to widen the net of those that it wishes to hold responsible for the delivery of care.
The frequency of comprehensive inspections will increase from April 2018 to 30 months for Good or Outstanding services, an increase of six months from the current schedule. There is no change for services rated below Good. CQC will seek to rely on its own body of data and concerns raised from local and national organisations and data gathered from Provider Information Collection, which will be required to be updated at least once annually otherwise a rating above Requires Improvement for well led will not be achievable.
CQC is keen to hold to account those in charge of providers that it deems to be failing even where the basis of such failing is potentially found higher up the corporate chain of command. Of importance to all providers is the relaxing of timescales for re-inspection of better performing homes, since this will free up time to focus more on homes it deems to be failing. Providers should ensure that they ensure the information it provides to CQC is accurate and robustly challenge inspection reports with evidence where it disagrees with findings at the factual accuracy comment stage.