5 steps to meet the new CQC framework: A Care Home Checklist

Becky Mundie

Mar 2024 ⋅ 5 min read

A care worker sat beside an elderly patient, touching their wrist in comfort and support

Late 2023 brought in a new framework for how CQC inspects health and social care services, putting people’s experience at the heart of the assessments.

While the care of service-users has always been at the core of what every CQC inspection and care provider strives and stands for, it is utterly crucial to know what has changed in the new CQC framework in how your services will be assessed - and how you can be best prepared for it.

What does CQC do?

The CQC (the Care Quality Commission) gives healthcare services the framework that they should be delivering to. They perform inspections for such providers and services in England, evaluating core aspects like safeguarding and the quality of care. 

Above all, CQC wants to see that you are listening to your service-users and planning your services to their needs.

What has CQC changed?

The Key Lines of Enquiry (KLOEs) framework was replaced by Quality Statements in late 2023. These new quality statements are crucial in CQC inspections and are now the standards CQC uses to assess care services. 

When it comes to inspections themselves, gone are the days of CQC visiting sites for 2-3 days to scour through piles of paperwork. The new Quality Statements framework focuses on the experience of all who have contact with their services. This spans from staff and the people supported to relatives and visitors. Feedback from these groups works out as 60% of the total scoring.

Now, all the necessary reports, data, and rotas are sent to CQC before their inspections. This, alongside CQC reaching out or meeting with staff and clients for feedback, will only lead to an in-person inspection if it is deemed necessary.

A healthcare professional taking notes at a patient's bedside

All inspections and the heart of what CQC regulates all comes back to 5 key questions - the CQC Standards.

Are the care services…
Responsive to people’s needs?

These 5 standards and the Outstanding to Inadequate rating scale have remained the same. It is how your overall rating is met and assessed against the 5 key questions that have changed.

When coming to answer their 5 key questions, CQC collects evidence in each of the categories below:

  • People’s experience of health & care services
  • Feedback from staff & leaders
  • Feedback from partners
  • Observation
  • Processes
  • Outcomes

Care providers are evaluated in each of the above areas against the relevant new quality statements and key questions. Through this, CQC can collate evidence and make their judgements for scoring.

So, what can care homes and services do to ensure they continuously meet what CQC now requires in the new inspection framework?

Well, we have a checklist for just that.

Two people working together over a laptop

5 ways to prepare for the new CQC framework

1) Get to know the new quality statements

The new quality statements, whether a new approach or different emphasis, CQC inspectors explore are: 

  • Learning Culture (in safety)
  • Safe Systems
  • Pathways & Transitions
  • Environmental Sustainability
  • Workforce Well-being & Enablement

See if these statements are currently existing in your care services and how they can be introduced or improved on to answer any of the 5 key questions.

2) Review current procedures & how you will show evidence

Look at what training and new systems may be needed to meet the new quality statements. It is crucial to show compliance in these, so be sure to address any gaps and implement the necessary changes or training to pass with flying colours.

Digitalising everything and having an audit trail can help towards your operations and CQC inspections. While also saving time on both sides, it also proves that you are adaptive by refining a streamlined process to always ensure safe, high-quality care.

3) Communicate with your teams

Transparency with teams, especially in the world of healthcare, is essential. Employees should be told about the new CQC framework and how the services will be assessed, and evidence collected, as well as given any training necessary to aid in meeting regulations.

Teams knowing processes and being up to date with current best practices can aid in your care services running smoothly while ultimately putting your service-users first, with you ensuring that they are receiving the best possible care and support.

4) Set up & monitor engagement for feedback

Seeing as the new framework puts people’s experiences at the forefront, it is important to regularly get feedback from all who are in contact with your services. Receive feedback from both staff and service-users on what they think needs improvement or something new to try, and give it a go! 

Constantly looking to develop your overall services, including the likes of operations and your teams’ skills, keeps your clients at the core of your choices - especially when able to prove that you find solutions to their suggestions.

After such changes have been implemented for a while, ask for feedback again on the difference it has made. It is up to you how you gain this information and how regularly, but remember that CQC will want to easily see evidence relating back to their 5 key questions and quality statements. 

5) Be open to new ways of working

Above all, an openness to all we have discussed so far is paramount. It is not just trying out, it is actively implementing such procedures and developing from them - that is what CQC is keen to see. 

How you currently run your services may be perfectly adequate to you and/or your teams, but could it be better? Well, you’ll certainly never know if you don’t try. Down to processes and documentation, there are always advanced methods of working. It is important to CQC that you can show how adaptive you and your services can be - and have the evidence to show it. 

Constantly striving to improve certainly puts your service-users first, which is, like we’ve said,  what both CQC and care providers have at the heart of everything they do. But, what is more, being open to and trying new ways of working can assure CQC regulators that you are ensuring safe, effective, caring, responsive, and well-led levels of support.

Find out how RotaCloud can help you on your way to CQC compliance

We asked Nicola, who has 27 years of experience in social care, about what she thinks is important to implement in ensuring smooth-sailing, effective care services and how to easily meet CQC standards.

Learn more