5 Things CQC Inspectors Will look at When They Come for Inspection

Donna Doyle
December 28, 2023

It's extremely difficult for a Registered Manager to receive Outstanding in one or more of the 5 key areas that the Care Quality Commission (CQC) inspects. Donna, who runs the respected Community Care Company Oxford House, is one of these managers!  As a result, her opinion and experience are quite valuable. Donna's blog is a pleasure to read!

My job as Registered Manager means I take overall responsibility for day to day regulatory compliance and ensuring that we meet or exceed all fundamental standards of care. I have been involved in our inspection process many times and have gained valuable experience of what CQC inspectors are looking for. You should see your inspection as an audition, you want to sell yourselves and show case all the good things you do as a care provider, you will not get the opportunity to do this again. Evidence is key, Inspectors will want to see how you are achieving the standards set in the key areas of inspection. Make sure all your team is aware of your policies and procedures and where to find them, easy access is important.  

1). As well as speaking to your customers; their families and care staff, CQC inspectors will want to speak to all relevant management/key personnel on inspection days, so make sure they are all available in the office. Inspectors may also want to speak with care staff in the office on the inspection days. This is a great opportunity for the carers to speak about the company in a positive way. They will want discuss your business over the last 12 months and they’ll want to hear about new initiatives you are developing.

2). Inspectors will have 5 key areas they inspect on – Is your service Safe; Well Led; Effective; Responsive and Caring. They will ask many questions and will want to find out what policies and procedures you have in place in each key area. For example, how do you Safeguard your clients, what systems do you have in place to roster calls to make sure there are no missed visits.  They will want to know how you risk assess all your clients and how everything is followed up and documented. It is a good idea to have evidence folders available for the inspectors to look at or even take away if required. 

3). Inspections will look into any Safeguarding’s raised, how they were dealt with, followed up and lessons learned. Same will go for complaints and how they are processed and actioned. We document all safeguarding concerns and complaints, we evidence what we have done and ensure any communication is in the correct folder. They will also look into any medication errors, accident and incident records. Inspectors will want to see evidence of written compliments too.

4). Quality Assurance – Inspectors are keen to find out how your company communicates with their customers and staff. How do they get feedback on their service and what measures are in place to follow up the responses. We send weekly satisfaction surveys out to our clients, we also send surveys out to our carers. These are reviewed and responses are attached as evidence so that we review these and discuss any suggestions. Any complaints are followed up by the relevant member of staff. A weekly staff meeting is held in the office to review all of these items as a team and this is documented and actioned.

5). Inspectors will want to make sure your recruitment practices are compliant with their standards. They will inspect your files to see if you follow the correct procedures, from interview paperwork, referencing information;  correct ID and right to work documentation. Inspectors will also thoroughly explore your companies training records; do staff receive the training they need to carry out their role, standard and perhaps advanced training if necessary. Are staff receiving regular refresher training and are they competency checked in the community before they start work and at intervals during the year. Inspectors will look to see if staff are receiving regular supervisions and appraisals. If you have a set number of reviews & supervisions in your policies, you must make sure that you are completing and documenting them.

Inspections can be daunting but honesty is crucial, if you have an error, it’s how you have handled it and the changes you have initiated to ensure that it doesn’t happen again. Inspections are a great opportunity to show how you make a difference to your client’s lives on a daily basis. Emphasise the things you are good at, what you and your team do to help improve someone’s wellbeing. Carers do wonderful things everyday and these sometimes go unnoticed, it is an opportunity to showcase your caring values and will help you to achieve an outstanding rating. 

Written By
Donna Doyle