Is your service CQC ready? When it comes to inspections, one thing I see a lot is managers taking on the task of getting CQC-ready without involving the wider team. Getting the team on board for a mock CQC inspection is a really good way to get everyone working towards a common goal that will ultimately help you deliver better care to service users.
So, how can you prepare your whole business for a CQC inspection?
Look at your leadership
If you get your well-led KLOE right, the rest should fall into place. Make sure your documents are in order and do regular in-house audits. It’s important to show that you’ve acted on your findings, so create a culture of continuous learning and reflection.
Surveys are really useful here; survey your staff, service users and their families, and any others involved to capture feedback and discover how you could do things better. Put lessons learned on your agenda. I’d recommend focusing on 3 areas: safeguarding and CQC regulations, incidents and accidents, and complaints and compliments — learn from what you’re doing well as well as where you could do better.
Confidence is catching. If you inspire your team, that confidence will be the first thing the inspector picks up on when they walk through the door. A mock CQC inspection will help, but you can also go on marketing courses to learn how to talk about your business and yourself with greater confidence.
Brief your team
There’s a lot of uncertainty about what people can and can’t share during a CQC inspection. Some think we’re out to lull them into a false sense of security and trip them up. Others think it’s a great opportunity to air their grievances and drive change. Neither is true, and what we actually want to see is that the management team has their finger on the pulse and knows what they’re employees think and feel.
To deliver seamless care, you should always be working together as one team. A really good way of doing that is to implement a ‘need to know’ procedure. Define which team members need to know about certain events and make sure they’re notified (with a paper trail, so you can provide evidence). That way no one will get a nasty surprise and everyone’s kept in the loop.
My advice to help your team prepare for CQC inspections is to use the opportunity to shout about things they’re doing brilliantly, but don’t cover anything up. We love it when we can join you in celebrating a success.
Learn from others
Make the most of any opportunity you get to connect with the care community. You can get tips and insights from other agencies in the health and social care sector, join webinars and go on training courses. If you’ve never been through a CQC inspection before and are feeling anxious then who better to speak to than a seasoned services provider?
Encourage staff retention
This is a long-term plan, but you never know when an inspection is coming, so getting into good habits now will help you in the future. Continual professional development is really important for boosting staff retention, which has a knock-on effect on continuity of care — it’s also nice for service users to build strong relationships with your team, which is much more difficult if you have to keep introducing them to new people.
The goal here should be to give your staff skills that empower them to work at any agency but to create such a supportive and friendly work environment that they’ll want to stay.
For many people, it isn’t money that motivates them. It’s recognition. Creating one-page profiles with your staff is a great way to find out their goals, identify individual skills and make sure their role reflects their unique talents and interests. And as for the carers who are more interested in money than career development? Make them work for it, it’s a valid driver that you can absolutely use to motivate them.
Always be thinking ahead so you’ve got evidence of everything you’re excelling at to show the inspector. That can be photos, activities, praise from service users. I’d actually recommend putting together a memorabilia box to act as a visual diary. It may seem sentimental but it’s much harder to provide evidence of things you’re doing right than of areas you need to work on.
Going for 110%
Many people strive to be outstanding. However, if your sole focus is on that outstanding rating and not on being able to sustain it then the only way is down. If you’re doing everything right you’re already at 100% and can think about going the extra mile to shoot for the stars.
Not sure where to start? We can help. Book a mock CQC inspection today. Call our expert team on 0333 444 5344 or email email@example.com for more information.
Kerry Wright – Lead Compliance Associate with Care Skilled
Kerry is a highly experienced social care professional and Registered Nurse Learning Disabilities (RNMH) with over 20 years experience at senior manager and directorate level in the public, not for profit and private sector. Kerry had held positions from registered manager to deputy chief executive including senior commissioning roles across multiple local authorities. Kerry has been responsible for the review of services, service quality and service redesign. She also worked as a specialist commissioner involved as part of the Transforming Care project at CCG. Kerry is a skilled and experienced manager mentor with a focus on driving up quality via successful mentoring of front line registered managers.