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Desktop audits, phone interviews and digital quality assurance inspections are becoming increasingly popular to make sure care companies are meeting CQC regulations when the inspector can’t be there in person.

A mock CQC inspection is a great way to get ready for remote inspection. When I’m performing a remote inspection, here are the main things I look out for:

1. Employment records

I spend about 30% of my time looking at HR files, especially relating to regulation 19(3), which concerns your employment records. Hiring decisions will have a big impact on your overall level of care, so you should be able to prove that your employees’ CVs and references are accurate and any gaps accounted for. If someone can’t provide work references, you can follow up with a client or their family member for proof of the carer’s conduct.

2. Training and development

You should be sitting down with every staff member and putting together a professional development plan. We’ll want to see copies of these to make sure there are no gaps in training needs (refresher courses) and that staff are not working with expired certifications. There should be some personal goals in there too to show that you’re invested in your staff in line with both the effective and responsive KLOEs.

3. Supervision and spot checks

Many care providers check in with staff every 3 months. To be outstanding, you really should be doing this every month. If there are concerns relating to your team, you can’t afford to let those go unchecked for 3 months. We’ll look at your supervision logs, and ask how you identify and deal with issues effectively. Supervision doesn’t just apply to your care team, you should have a chain of command ensuring that team leaders are supported as well.

4. Care plans

Moving on from HR, we’ll want to see your care plans and policies, and proof that you’ve implemented them. More than half of the companies I inspect don’t know their own policies, thanks in large part to using online tools to generate them. Outstanding companies write their own care plans that align to CQC regulations and fundamental principles of care, and live by them.

Plans should be personalised and contain details of social workers, next of kin, medication and specialist needs, expected outcomes and how to achieve them. Relevant risk assessments should be included and there should be evidence that plans are regularly reviewed and updated.

5. Incident management

Care providers should be proactively trying to prevent incidents and that means logging them, analysing them, tracking trends, and most importantly, regularly reviewing them and actioning changes to keep your staff and service users safe. From each incident report I’d expect to see a root-cause analysis, and you should also be logging and learning from near misses.

6. Safeguarding

Safeguarding is key, you need a robust policy and emergency procedures taking into account the mobility of both your staff and service users. Make sure you include the wider community of local authorities you work with and ensure you are working to the local authority’s most up to date policy. You will also need to identify where Duty of Candour needs to be implemented, the CQC look for events whereby the provider identifies that they could have prevented an event occurring and have apologised and have changed a process for the better and the client is happy with the outcome. You’ll also need to present your staff’s attendance records to demonstrate how you ensure continuity of care and we’ll want to know how you kept people safe during the pandemic. In fact, infection control is likely to become a separate area for inspection in the future. Your approach should be flexible and reviewed regularly.

7. Auditing

Good and outstanding companies regularly self-audit and will have an annual audit plan covering every aspect of care, from staff files and care plans to medication and infection control, from training to health and safety. Again, you should be learning from your findings and striving for continuous improvement.

A mock CQC inspection will help you find any gaps in your paperwork and identify areas to improve before the real thing. But more importantly, we can work together to ensure you’re making the best decisions for staff and service users.

Call our expert team on 0333 444 5344 or email for more information on getting a mock CQC inspection. 

 Michelle Dring – Lead Compliance Associate with Care Skilled

Michelle is a quality assurance professional with a deep understanding of Ofsted and CQC regulations and specialist expertise in Childcare and Learning Disabilities. She has more than 25 years of experience in quality assurance and compliance in both owner-operated and corporate organisations, significant success in turning around failing regulated services and an extensive track record of driving continuous improvement to take operations and service delivery for organisations to new levels of performance. Michelle is a specialist in quality assurance and implementation of QA systems relating to Ofsted and CQC regulated services.







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Reablement Support Worker | Nexxus Care

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