Inside CQC: Update on regulatory activity

Kate Terroni, Chief Inspector of Adult Social Care, updates on CQC’s regulatory activity, including its new priorities, and explains what the current workforce data is telling us and how CQC’s future work will support this area.

All of us working in adult social care feel passionately about celebrating great care.

I know how important it is to providers and staff working in the sector that you are able to share and demonstrate where you’ve made improvements that could lead to a new rating. I’m pleased that we’ve been able to complete 2,674 inspections in adult social care services from 1st December 2021 to the end of February 2022. Of those inspections, 1,933 have also had an infection, prevention and control (IPC) review. These reviews show that the majority of services have good IPC assurance across our eight questions and prompts, though we do also see that some improvements are needed in keeping
up-to-date policies.

From March onwards, as we emerge from the pandemic, our inspection emphasis will be on risk and re-rating. We will need to continue to assess IPC and ask questions to understand any impact workforce challenges may be having on continuity and quality of care, but our main focus will be re-rating services wherever we can. I’m pleased that this work will enable us to recognise improvements, share best practice in inspection reports and make sure that our published ratings reflect the quality you provide.

In February, we updated our Board with the latest data we have on workforce. Information you’ve shared with us through our Provider Information Return showed care home staff vacancy rates had steadily increased throughout 2021 in England. The rate nearly doubled from 6% at the end of April 2021, to 11.4% at the end of January 2022. Your latest data shows that rates are still high but have not increased in the last month. We know that recruitment and retention is having an impact on your ability to deliver good-quality care. So, I welcome the Government’s recent decision to add social care to the Shortage Occupation List. This is the right step in recognising the impact and value of care workers to the quality of care available for people.

You’ll also be aware of our upcoming role in assuring local authorities and Integrated Care Systems. As we continue to develop our thinking in these areas, we’ll be looking at how local authorities support people working in care settings and unpaid carers – as well as how systems implement place-based workforce plans that support all health and social care workers. You can find out more about our work in this area in our latest briefing.

Finally, we know that having a happy and supported workforce is a driver of quality, and this includes people being able to speak up when they have a concern. I’m pleased to welcome Dr Jayne Chidgey-Clark as the new National Guardian for the National Guardian’s Office (NGO). The NGO team works with a network of Freedom to Speak Up Guardians that are integrated into NHS organisations to support people to speak up about a range of issues. In the recent social care reform paper, ‘People at the Heart of Care’, the Government announced that it will introduce a pilot to explore how Freedom to Speak up Guardians can be introduced in the social care sector. This will provide a vital route for staff working in adult social care to raise concerns and escalate issues around their wellbeing and quality of care, and support providers with their employees’ concerns.

I’m looking forward to working with Dr Chidgey-Clark to find the most effective ways that speak-up culture and Freedom to Speak Up Guardians can be embedded in our sector.


Kate Terroni is the Chief Inspector of Adult Social Care at the Care Quality Commission.

 

 

 

 

 

 

About Kate Terroni

Kate Terroni, Chief Inspector of Adult Social Care, Care Quality Commission

Kate, a registered social worker, was previously Director of Adult Social Care at Oxfordshire County Council where she embedded co-production in adult social care throughout the county and provided clear leadership across the health and care system.

Kate is co-chair of the ADASS workforce network and was previously Deputy Director of Commissioning at Oxfordshire County Council.

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Close inspection: Has CQC been giving lower ratings?

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Anonymous

All about staff and providers as usual. Nothing about the people for whom, this is FOR. These should be people’s homes – staff, managers, local authorities are their servants. They / we are paying you to support people in need to live as well as they can for as long as they can. Who’d want to go and live somewhere where the main priority is ‘delivering’ care and getting ‘re-rated’? I don’t read anything about supporting residents’ happiness or well-being here. No wonder occupancy rates are low. They’ll doubtless stay that way until the people who live there are at… Read more »

adminuser

Thank you for your feedback. At CQC we remain committed to our purpose to ensure people in care are receiving safe, effective, and compassionate care. The aim of this column was to give providers and professionals an update to our new regulatory approach which will affect the way we inspect and monitor their services. We know providing and receiving quality care is essential to everyone, and strongly encourage individuals to let us know when this is being done so we can share positive care experiences and also safeguard people in care. The health and wellbeing of people in care is… Read more »

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