Ever driven down the High Street or around the local Business Park and seen a banner outside the local care provider with “We are inadequate” in huge writing? Probably not, given that no-one wants to publicise they have work to do, or that their service is not as it should be.
But let’s not underestimate how important a successful inspection is, not just because you don’t want to get that banner made for your setting, but because you want your inspection to be a success so staff are proud to come to work, families recognise you as the local provider of choice and your hard work is recognised externally.
If you have just received your PIR/PIC and think that CQC are “due”, think again. There is much more to the PIR (Provider Information Return) than meets the eye, because CQC will use it to risk assess which providers get inspected and when. This means that if you do a good job of your PIR/PIC (Provider Information Collection), you have the opportunity to show CQC that you are doing a great job and are therefore not a priority for inspection.
So, if you leave “getting ready for inspection” to when you first receive your PIR/PIC, you could well be missing out on a wealth of evidence that could tip your service into “Outstanding”. Over the coming weeks in this blog, we will be exploring feedback and ideas from real managers, just like you, who have shared their experiences as part of our delivery of “Lead to Succeed”, the Skills for Care leadership and development programme.
The starting point is: don’t wait for the PIR/PIC or until two weeks before inspection to “get ready” – be “inspection-ready” at all times by coaching staff for what will happen when the inspectors arrive so they are also ready. Even more critically, find ways to capture and record the reasons you are outstanding on a continual basis. Stick with us – we’ll be sharing ideas on this very issue over the coming weeks.
To set the ball rolling, the first idea is to create a “one drawer inspection kit” (more can be found in module 5 of Skills for Care – Lead to Succeed). During many sessions, managers have shared their experience of inspection (not just CQC, but internal quality audits and Local Authority contract monitoring visits, etc). These are along the lines of: “They came when I was on holiday!!!” Imagine the inspectors turn up whilst you are on holiday; do your staff know where all the evidence is? Could they support the inspectors whilst you aren’t there? Well, the “one drawer inspection kit” is a simple tool to empower staff and colleagues to do just that and to give you some peace of mind at the same time.
Choose a place that contains a set of signposts to all the evidence that the inspector might want or need (relevant to your setting/regulations/registration). That way, if the inspectors arrive whilst you are on holiday, your colleagues are already coached to say the following: “Our inspection kit is here. In it, you will find lots of reasons why we are outstanding and, if you need anything further, I will be available in x location”. Future posts will include “business as usual” when the inspectors arrive…
Think of it this way: the “one drawer inspection kit” is a way for you to evidence all of the amazing work you do, day in, day out, and why wouldn’t you want to make absolutely certain to get that evidence in front of the inspector on the day?
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