Inside CQC: Improving supported living

Debbie Ivanova, Deputy Chief Inspector of Adult Social Care, shares the ways the regulator is changing how it communicates, and discusses its commitment to improving supported living.

Essential to the work we do across CQC is exploring ways of communicating with people who access health and social care services, as well as their relatives and carers. To do this well we need to think about how we can reach as many people as possible, not just those who find it easy to talk about their care.

Since last spring we’ve been training and supporting CQC inspectors to use talking mats, which is an interactive symbols tool we use to help meet people’s communication needs. It can be used to support anyone who may have difficulties communicating their experiences of care. This includes people who live with dementia, people who have had a brain injury, people who have a learning disability, deaf people, people who do not have English as their first language and people with mental health conditions.

It’s really helped us to find out what some people think about their care, particularly those who wouldn’t normally be able to talk to us. In fact, some care providers have been so impressed with what people have been able to tell us, they will be training their staff to use it. Successful communication is about finding the best way for each person; we encourage all care providers and teams to adopt a range of methods to support people who access care, and their relatives and carers to talk about and take part in shaping the support they need.

Because We All Care

One of the ways we reach out to people is through our Because We All Care campaign, which we relaunched in January. The campaign encourages people to give feedback on their experiences of health and social care.

We’d like providers to support Because We All Care. Our stakeholder toolkit has key messages and assets including an amination, social media graphics and suggested posts to help highlight and support how people can feed back experiences of care to you and us. We’re also looking for case studies from providers and your teams about how you’ve worked with people, listened to their feedback and applied lessons learned. Contact us on with your examples.

Supported Living Improvement Coalition

We have become increasingly concerned about the variation in people’s experience of supported living services. We’ve heard from people who’ve accessed supported living services that are restricted in the choices they can make, either with where they live or the care that is available for them. We are committed to seeing improvements in the quality of care in supported living across the country, supporting providers to meet the standards described in Right Support, Right Care, Right Culture.

Fundamental to the work we are doing to improve the regulation of services for people with a learning disability and autistic people is a focus on what it means to be a citizen and how we must be ambitious for people receiving care and support so they have more choice, independence and control over their lives and the care they receive.

With this ambition in mind we have convened a Supported Living Improvement Coalition, led by people with lived experience, their relatives and carers. The group is structured in this way so people can tell their stories to a range of stakeholders who can work with them to identify, resolve and embed the improvements that are needed. The coalition has representatives from advocacy groups, care providers, Clinical Commissioning Groups, local authorities, and housing developers. With leadership and support from across social care together we can drive the improvements needed to change outcomes for people with a learning disability and autistic people accessing supported living.

We would like more people with lived experience to join the Supported Living Improvement Coalition. If you would like to join the group or have consent from someone who has experience of supported living to advocate on their behalf, we want to hear from you. Contact CQC by email on

Debbie Ivanova is Deputy Chief Inspector of Adult Social Care at the Care Quality Commission. Share your thoughts and views on Debbie’s column below. Twitter: @CQCProf




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Pearl Baker

‘Supported Living’ residents are not always regulated by the CQC, this scenario is often overlooked. Those with a diagnosis of Mental Health are often overlooked, ‘forgotten’ yet those subject to Section 117 of the 1983 MHA are supposed to receive ‘joint’ funding from the CCGs and LA:- ‘Care Plans’ should identify ‘Health & Social Care’ needs. this is NOT happening. Personal Budgets are rarely offered, yet ‘Mandatory’. How can the CQC put this ‘scenario’ to ‘bed’ and ensure this Group receive their Legal Rights, and improved Health & Social Care? this can only be ‘found out’ via the GP Practice… Read more »

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