The new CQC Single Assessment Framework (“SAF”) has a number of features which, in theory, providers should welcome as part of the move towards smarter regulation. However, the roll out of CQC’s guidance on how it will assess, score and rate services under the SAF raises concerns that some of the potential benefits of the new system may be undermined by the practical application of the framework. In this alert we look at the new reports CQC will produce.
CQC has indicated that, under the SAF, inspection reports will be clearer, with shorter narratives. This may be welcome for the public, particularly compared to the current inspection reports which can be quite repetitive.
However, in the context of its guidance on Factual accuracy checks of draft reports, CQC states:
“The assessment report does not need to reference all the evidence but it should include the best evidence to support our judgements.”
It again remains to be seen how this works out in practice. However, for providers, we believe it is essential that they are made aware of precisely what evidence CQC is relying on in order to make its judgements. This is necessary not only so that providers are made aware of concerns so they can bring about improvements in care, but also so they know what alleged factual findings they need to challenge if they do not agree. Under the previous system, we have seen instances of CQC accepting challenges to factual findings in the draft report but still maintaining judgements (of breaches) based on other findings which were not set out in the report. It is essential, if providers are facing poor ratings and findings of breaches of regulations, that they know precisely the evidence relied upon by CQC. Again, we wait to see precisely how much detail will be included in the new report format. However, we believe it may become more important for providers to request extracts of the notes of inspections where this is necessary to enable them to understand the basis for any statement in the draft report that they believe is factually inaccurate.
If you wish to discuss any issues relating to CQC’s new Single Assessment Framework, please contact: