Inside CQC: Debbie Ivanova

Deputy Chief Inspector of Adult Social Care at the Care Quality Commission (CQC), Debbie Ivanova shares updates on the regulator’s next steps.

Since the outbreak of COVID-19 we have used this Inside CQC column to update you about the work we are doing in response to the pandemic and how we have changed the way we work.

We are still adapting to the changing situation and no doubt will have to be more flexible as we move into the winter months, with the possibility of more local lockdowns and further restrictions from the Government.

We have been thinking ahead about our regulatory activities during periods of local lockdown and what our approach should be in these situations. Where strict social distancing is enforced in an area, we will continue our regulatory assessments as we currently are, including visiting services in person where necessary. We will also continue our regulatory assessments in areas subject to a full local lockdown, but we would only carry out a physical inspection where absolutely necessary.

This flexible approach forms part of our Transitional Regulatory Approach, and is likely to be reflected in our future strategy. Our Transitional Regulatory Approach, being introduced this month, is flexible and iterative, incorporating what we have learnt from COVID-19 about the way we regulate. We are developing our approach to monitoring to capture a much broader range of topics as part of the monitoring process. We aim to use all the information available to us to present a clearer view of risk and quality.

The new CQC strategy will launch in May 2021, with a full public consultation beginning in January 2021, but we have already started hearing the views of the public and providers of health and social care. There will be lots of activity on our digital participation platform if you want to get involved. CQC’s Chief Executive, Ian Trenholm wrote more about the Transitional Regulatory Approach and the future strategy in his recent blog which can be accessed via the CQC website.

This month, we also met for the first time (virtually) with our newly formed Expert Advisory Group (EAG) for our work on closed cultures, which had been temporarily paused because of COVID-19. We wanted this group to represent a range of stakeholders with different backgrounds and experiences, so that our work is as informed as possible. We committed to 50% of the group being people with lived experience, or families and representatives of those who have experienced such care.

The first meeting gave us an opportunity to get to know the people in the group and have a discussion on care planning. This informs our conversations about how inspectors can better identify when good and bad care planning is happening in settings where there may be a closed culture.

We will continue to meet with the group regularly so they can inform our work and we can keep them updated on progress throughout the project. Keep an eye on our Medium page for regular updates from Chief Inspector of Adult Social Care, Kate Terroni.

It has been an incredibly difficult year for social care, and now we face the usual pressures of winter alongside a possible second wave of COVID-19. We are committed to supporting providers to get through this and ensure that people are receiving safe, effective care whenever possible. I look forward to writing to you again soon.

Debbie Ivanova is Deputy Chief Inspector of Adult Social Care at the Care Quality Commission. Share your thoughts and feedback on Debbie’s column by leaving a comment on this page.

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