4 min read/Published On: July 8, 2022/706 words/

An Unexpected Meeting

cqc inspection

Imagine the scene. You step into the lift at work to be greeted by a smartly dressed stranger. They turn to you and say, ‘Good morning, do you work here?’ You turn your head towards them and reply, ‘Yes I do, but may I ask who you are?’ The stranger replies with, ‘I’m the CQC inspector!’ What would you do? How would you be feeling at that moment? Does the thought of spending even just one minute with the CQC inspector fill you with dread? Do you panic and try to avoid eye contact? Is there an awkward silence as you move up the floors of the building? Does that short minute feel like an eternity? The inspector breaks the silence and asks, ‘do you like working here?’ How would you answer them?

Being prepared for the inspector

These scenarios are often explored in the Skills for Care ‘Lead to Succeed’, ‘Well-Led’, and ‘Leading Change Improving Care’ courses where there is an exploration of how to prepare for CQC inspections. There are very few, if any social care staff who look forward to these inspections with eager anticipation, and if you do, your colleagues may even question your sanity! But, with good preparation, it is possible to reduce the anxiety around dealing with inspections and perhaps even see the opportunities present to demonstrate the amazing work happening in social care services every day all around the UK.


Imagine the scenario again, but this time rather than being filled with dread, you say to the inspector, ‘it is nice to meet you, and I trust that today you will hear about the many amazing things that go on in our services every day.’ This time it is the inspector who is unsure what to say, so accustomed to people clamming up in their presence that they are taken aback by the positivity of the greeting. This time it is you who breaks the silence by telling them about your service, your amazing staff team and the brilliant work they do. By the time you reach your floor, the CQC inspector is already mentally typing ‘Outstanding’ on the report.

Talk about the good stuff

How amazing would it be if we were less phased by CQC inspections and inspectors? Instead, we were ready to talk about what we enjoy about our work, what we like about the organisation, and the amazing difference we make in the lives of those we support. It seems that we have tendencies to underplay the positive impact we have on the quality of life of those we support in our social care services. But that doesn’t mean we cannot also appreciate and talk about what we see in terms of the difference we make. In a world where social care rarely makes the news for any reason other than poor practice or cases of abuse, how refreshing would it be to share the positive things too.

Lead to Succeed

Preparing for CQC inspections is a topic discussed during module 5 of the ‘Lead to Succeed’ programme. During this module, there is a demystification process that removes the veil off how CQC do what they do and what staff can expect from the inspection and engaging with the inspector. How amazing it would be, including for the inspector, if they met staff who do not dread an encounter with them, but are well prepared, understand the inspection process, and are aware of the intention behind CQC inspections. This is very possible and has happened in many organisations and with the support of the Lead to Succeed programme, the perception and relationship between the inspection process and the inspectors can be changed, if not transformed.

At Grey Matter Learning, we are very proud to be an endorsed provider of the Skills for Care ‘Lead to Succeed’, ‘Well Led’, and ‘Leading Change Improving Care’ courses. We are passionate about improving the quality of life for those who use social care services and those who choose to work in the sector. Therefore, we dedicate our work to providing high-quality learning and development opportunities for people working in the sector.

Click here to learn more about our endorsed leadership and management courses and our suite of eLearning courses.

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