The Care Quality Commission will roll out its ‘transitional regulatory approach’ to monitoring adult social care settings from October 6, it has been announced.
Home Care Insight has previously reported that the CQC is evolving its approach to monitoring as risks from the pandemic change, and now the regulator has published a statement on how it will go about doing this, and when.
“Throughout the pandemic, our regulatory role did not change. Our core purpose of keeping people safe was always driving our decisions,” CQC chief inspectors, including Kate Terroni (pictured), said in a joint statement.
“However, as the risks from the pandemic change, we’re evolving our approach in a way that is both sensitive to the changing circumstances of providers, and that also puts people who use services at the centre of what we do.”
The transitional approach features three components – inspection activity that is more targeted and focus on where the CQC has concerns, without returning to a routine programme of planned inspections; use of technology and local relationships to have better direct contact with service users, families and care staff; and a strengthened approach to monitoring with “clear areas of focus” based on existing key lines of enquiry (KLOE).
“We will continue to adapt our transitional regulatory approach, and remain responsive as the situation changes. We’ll also be considering longer-term changes to how we regulate, which we’ll explore through engagement on our future strategy,” the statement added.
As previously reported, the CQC said it won’t be returning to business as usual, due to risks relating to COVID-19, but it will draw from “the best of its existing methodologies” and adapt them to work within the current environment.
The regulator said: “We are clear that our focus will continue to be on services where we have concerns about care and will continue take appropriate action to protect people if necessary.
“The pandemic means that we cannot return to our fixed timetable or frequency rules on inspecting and, given the pressures on providers and the risk of spreading infection, it is unlikely we will return to our published frequency in the near future.
“We need to strike a balance between making sure we hear people’s experiences of care and accurately assessing quality while minimising the risk of spread of infection and not adding unnecessary pressure on the health and care system.”
The CQC added that where it does carry out on-site inspections, action will be targeted and driven by information it holds on the service, focusing on areas where it can’t collect information in other ways, or on service where it needs to visit more, such as in secure settings.
It will also carry out pilots in social care to explore new ways of gathering evidence without physically visiting a service.
“This part of our transitional approach will help us test new ways of working that will inform our future strategy and approach,” the regulator said.
The CQC added that where the outcome of monitoring activity leads to it inspecting a service, it will use its existing inspection methodologies, and adapt to work with the environment.
This means that across all the health and care sectors it regulates, it can still look at any or all of the KLOEs on inspection, to ensure people are receiving safe, high-quality care. However, as inspections will be more targeted and focused around areas of risk, they may not always cover all aspects of the five key questions and its KLOEs. As a result, inspections may not always lead to a change in rating for a service.
To read the joint statement in full, click here.