We will begin to implement changes to how we regulate adult social care services.
From 1 November 2017:
•We will regulate services using a single assessment framework for adult social care. This will strengthen our assessment by reflecting changes to the sector, the new best practice guidance, and how providers may develop their services in future. It will also simplify the process of assessment by aligning the questions we ask of different sectors and the characteristics that reflect a rating.
•New, simplified guidance on how CQC monitors, inspects and regulates adult social care services is available on the 'Guidance for Providers' area of our website. This guidance will replace the Provider and Inspector Handbooks, and will ensure both providers and inspectors use the same guidance documents.
•We will ask providers that are repeatedly rated as requires improvement to complete an improvement action plan to show how and by when they will improve their overall rating to good.
•We will introduce more proportionate and targeted inspections. Every service will receive a comprehensive inspection which considers all five key questions. We will also conduct focused inspections, targeted on areas of concern, risk or improvements, informed by Insight and information collection.
Phased implementation from January 2018:
•We will introduce an online process for collecting information from providers via a statement of quality about the five key questions and how providers are supporting continuous improvements. We will require providers to update this at least once annually, although more frequent updates can be made to record changes in quality, including improvements. This process will first be used with a small number of providers, gradually rolling out to all providers. Our aim is for full implementation by early 2018/19.
•During the transition providers will continue to use the current system for submitting information and will gradually be invited to start using the new online process. At the same time we will continue to test and improve the questions we ask and the process we use.
From April 2018:
• We will introduce a maximum inspection interval of 30 months for comprehensive inspections for services rated as good and outstanding. Until then, we will maintain current inspection frequencies of within 24 months, underpinned by ongoing monitoring using a broader range of information sources. We will continue to follow up and respond to risks and concerns through the use of focused inspections at any time. We will engage with stakeholders in advance of extending further the inspection interval for services rated as outstanding.