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How to get the best out of a CQC inspection

CQC has recently published guidance on “How to get the most out of inspection”. This includes commentary on what good inspection looks and feels like.

The guidance has been put together involving several relevant stakeholders such as Care England and the Voluntary Organisations Disability Group.

The purpose of the guidance is to assist in setting out what good inspection looks like for all parties and to address common issues. The idea is to clarify misunderstandings, remove barriers to effective working, and agree some mutual expectations. Ultimately everyone is looking to achieve the same outcome – good quality care for those using care services. The guidance outlines themes under three headings:

  • 1 Make sure the inspection starts well
  • 2 A positive inspection experience
  • 3 A good end to the inspection.

In each case the importance of communication is stressed.

1 Make sure the inspection starts well

Upon arrival everyone should be introduced and key contacts arranged. There should be opportunities agreed for open and regular dialogue, and ultimately feedback.

CQC will explain the purpose and type of inspection and their plan for the day. They will take account of current staffing arrangements including the implications of turnover and absence. They will establish any need to know information about the people using the service. They will try to put people at ease.

The provider should make sure the inspectors have the information that they need, and it should ensure staff and service users know what to expect and how to liaise with the inspection team.

2 A positive inspection experience

As the inspection progresses clarification and updates should be made available and everyone should be treated with respect. CQC should provide feedback throughout the day and explain any immediate risks straightaway. If questions are not understood they should be rephrased. The inspection team should not stay longer than would be reasonable and arrange a second day if necessary. The provider’s staff should be available and should demonstrate good practice.

3 A good end to the inspection

Time should be set aside for feedback and if necessary, an alternative date fixed that is mutually convenient. The evidence gathered should be discussed including information collated prior to the inspection. Agreement should be reached on where any additional evidence can be sent. Each party should actively listen to the other and respect differing views. Although CQC will not propose to share an indicative rating at this point, CQC will however summarise the key points and if any immediate improvements are required, explain what these are and why. The provider should seek clarification as required and make sure they have enough detail about any concerns raised. Both parties can use the opportunity to provide feedback on the way the inspection has proceeded.

The guidance provides useful assistance on expectations regarding how inspections should proceed. As the majority of these recommence later in the year that should be helpful. However, where providers reflect upon an inspection and have further comments that have not been raised at the feedback meeting, they should not hesitate to do so as quickly as possible thereafter.



This briefing is for guidance purposes only. RadcliffesLeBrasseur LLP accepts no responsibility or liability whatsoever for any action taken or not taken in relation to this note and recommends that appropriate legal advice be taken having regard to a client's own particular circumstances.

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