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Hans F. Hansen

Bin the workbooks…

Thanks for the comments and shares on our recent four part series on recruitment and retention – and a warm welcome to all our new subscribers!

In doing the work for that series of posts, it reminded me of something I wrote back in 2016 – Time to move past paper and, just a day or so later, CQC published this guide around going digital.

It looks like we have finally reached a watershed moment: CQC has published guidance around the benefits of using digital systems, Skills for Care has published similar guidance around “using digital methods to deliver and assess learning” and COVID-19 has thrust us into a ‘new normal’ where technology is being more widely used, both personally and professionally.

So, this week, I wanted to take the opportunity to have a look at what CQC has said, what Skills for Care has said, extract the essentials and look at what it means for the future.

CQC

https://www.cqc.org.uk/guidance-providers/adult-social-care/what-good-looks-digital-records-adult-social-care

This is the guidance I mentioned earlier and below I have extracted the essentials, but the link is here for anyone that wants to dig deeper:

  1. CQC inspectors will spend more time on virtual activity and less time on physical site visits.
  2. CQC will request more information from providers in a digital format.
  3. The fundamental standards do not set out what provider records must look like or what format they should be in.  It is the provider’s choice if they use paper or digital records systems, or a mixture of the two.

The three key points above, in my mind, are a fundamental shift from what CQC has said in the past.  Anecdotally, providers have often said things like: “CQC want things printed out” or “CQC want to take away paper files to review”, though the guidance now states (finally) that it is not for CQC to stipulate what systems providers use (point 3).

Furthermore, the guidance is quite clear (and this is partly because COVID has thrust us all into new ways of working), inspectors will spend more time with virtual or digital records and less time “crossing the threshold”.  One of the elements of Lead to Succeed Module 5 is to build a relationship with your CQC inspector and develop a continual flow of information to them.

Lead to Succeed describes the “intelligent monitoring” that CQC use before they arrive for the physical visit and what they appear to be outlining here is greater reliance on that evidence collection method.

Lastly, from a CQC perspective, one of the elements of Lead to Succeed is “make it as easy as possible for CQC to locate the evidence they need”, as inspection used to be a snapshot of what happens on the day they are there (on site).  

Clearly, that is going to change, so all those examples you have of your staff going the extra mile in the last six months, find ways to share them with CQC and start getting used to sharing digital information with them now.   

Add those examples to a worker’s record in Click so that you are building a robust portfolio of competence – that’s going to be vital in future inspections because it would seem that observations and SOFI will not be as widely used as they were in the past, which means you need to do the observations and share digitally with CQC as appropriate.

Does your eLearning system enable you to add observation of practice and share that with CQC?

Skills for Care

https://www.skillsforcare.org.uk/Documents/Essential-Training/Guidance-for-employers-learning-providers-and-in-house-trainers-on-face-to-face-training-and-assessment-September-2020.pdf

As before, this is the guidance I mentioned earlier and the essentials are below:

  1. Establish if the training is necessary at this time?
  2. Are there alternative methods to support the achievement of learning and development, such as changes to assessment methods?
  3. Skills for Care encourage you to use digital solutions to deliver and access training currently.

The first point is actually really interesting!  How would you go about establishing if training is actually necessary?  The starting point must surely be some sort of assessment that establishes what the worker already knows and is putting into practice on a daily basis.  Do look back at our recent post learning vs training and the post on Staff retention (just because you have reached the 12 month anniversary of the training, their knowledge skills did not suddenly vanish overnight).

If this principle is OK at the moment and CQC is looking for more digital records, then surely the principle becomes part of our new normal?  What are we learning from COVID-19?  So far, we’ve learnt that all those people who used to come into the office for training, don’t need to, that there are other methods for collecting evidence and that all those workers who thought they could not use technology, actually could do so, when given a little bit of a nudge and some support.

Secondly, alternative methods for assessing achievement of learning and development, the short answer is yes – we have been doing that since 2006 and hence my post above from 2016.  As we’re almost in 2021, I think it really must be time to get rid of the bits of paper!

Lastly, if you need another reason, Skills for Care and CQC are encouraging you to use digital methods…

Next week we are going to look at CQC Regulation 17 and the Care Certificate.

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