On LinkedIn, recently, this is the comment below (from Eddie Stevens) about dealing with negative complaints pro-actively
“A recurring conversation I have when I run workshops is with unhappy registered managers who are challenging a rating that was negatively impacted because an individual complained directly to the inspector during the feedback stage.
The common theme here is that the service knew about the complaint and had evidence to prove they had responded and dealt with this appropriately and robustly, but the inspector somehow missed this.
As a provider it is vital to proactively share these complaints with CQC, in particular those which have been vexatious or not resolved to the satisfaction of the individual, along with details of any action plans or support which has been put in place to support the individual as a result of the complaint. By sharing them in this way, it puts the provider on the front foot and ensures the inspector can join-up the feedback they have received with the records available. It also demonstrates an Outstanding approach where the individual is at the heart of the service and is truly listened to and empowered.”
In brief, Eddie is part of the team at Grey Matter Learning and part of his role is delivering the workshops that he describes at the beginning of his post. So, he is regularly in front of rooms full of managers just like you, listening to their challenges and hopefully sharing solutions.
Challenging a rating
Okay, so let’s pick up the first point, “unhappy managers, challenging a rating”. This is also something we cover as part of our delivery of Lead to Succeed, Module 5 of the Skills for Care leadership and management programme (Leading and Managing the Inspection Process). As Eddie suggests, it is vital that, during the short time the inspectors are with you, you ensure that they can find, or you show them, the evidence about your service. This is because, once they leave, you can only challenge factual errors or omissions, which means if they don’t see the evidence ON THE DAY, it becomes harder to challenge a rating. Think of it as closing the gate after the horse has bolted which means you are then on the back foot.
In future posts, we will share ideas around the “outstanding log” a way to make sure you have a collection of evidence “ready to go” that makes what I have described above more straightforward.
Prepare your staff
Next, “someone you support complained directly to the inspector”. Be prepared for this – remember in last week’s post when we talked about the inspection methodology and how the inspectors will talk to the people you support and your staff? This can easily happen. By preparing both your staff and the people you support for what is going to happen during the inspection, you can potentially avoid this happening.
Inspector didn't see the evidence
Eddie then describes a common theme regularly shared by managers that “the service knew about the complaint and had dealt with it and had the evidence, BUT the inspector somehow didn’t see that evidence”.
Thinking back to what I said earlier about what you can challenge after the inspection is limited (the appeals documentation even limits the number of characters you can add to it), it is imperative that you get the evidence in front of the inspector when they are there. For instance, if you know that someone you support is not happy with your resolution or the actions you have taken, perhaps you can ask you inspector for advice, this is the situation, this is what we have done, have we missed anything?
Don't wait for the inspection
Bear in mind, you may not want to wait until the actual day of inspection to do this; you can ask this kind of question anytime and really get on the front foot. Being open and honest is a foundation for trust not only between you and your inspector, but also with your team and the people you support.
Therefore, as Eddie mentioned, if you “share the particular complaints that have not been resolved to the satisfaction of the person and share your action plans”, you can seek an alternative perspective on the same set of circumstances.
In doing so, you set the tone for the inspection, so you can then support the inspector to join the dots with what they have seen, heard and been told, demonstrating that you are open and transparent. This then instantly moves you from the back foot to the front foot, ensuring that the inspector sees all of the fantastic work you and your team do every day, backed up by robust evidence of competence.
You can see the original post here: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/cqc-inspection-methodology-sarah-knapp/
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