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How Does The CQC Rate Independent Care Providers?

At Anglian Care, we take a great deal of pride in our person-centred care. Everything we do in the homes of the people we look after is tailored to their particular circumstances and care needs. We understand that our service users’ needs change over time too, which is why we review our care plans to make sure they are supporting people when and where they need it.
When it comes to quality care, we have many positive testimonials from people and the families of people we look after. We always do our best to deliver high-quality home care throughout Essex.

In addition to reviews from the people we help, we are also officially inspected by the Care Quality Commission (CQC). In England, the CQC is in charge of assessing independent care providers like us.

The UK government has recently announced a major review of how social care and healthcare services are delivered in England. This will necessarily cover some of the ground that is already part of the CQC’s responsibilities. When the review report is published, we’ll know more about the role of the CQC and whether anything will change. For now, the most important thing to know is that the CQC inspects care providers in the independent sector, like us, as well as those in the public sector. Both types of care provision are measured by the same set of criteria. In other words, public social care is not held to a different standard than private care and both parts of the industry are expected to deliver the sort of compassionate and person-centred care that we do.

How Are Standards Measured Across Different Care Providers?

Of course, given that organisations in social care work differently from one another and with different sorts of client groups, there is no single set of criteria for care providers to meet. According to the CQC, to ensure there is fairness across the board with different social care providers, what their inspectors do is look for rating characteristics that are relevant to the provider concerned. These should take into account the best practices and recognised guidelines for the people being cared for. In short, they don’t come in with a clipboard and a checklist to see how many things they can tick off. Rather, they focus on the sort of care that is actually being given.
The CQC says that a service provider in any given location – within its own facility or in the homes’ of care recipients – does not have to demonstrate every care characteristic within a given rating guideline for it to give the relevant rating. For example, if a service provider were to demonstrate that it was ‘good’ in several areas of care that it delivers but just one of the characteristics of its care were to be deemed as ‘inadequate’, then it could lead to a lower overall rating.

In fairness, for this to happen, the inadequate characteristic would need to have a ‘significant impact’ on the quality of care being given or on care recipients’ experiences. To put this another way, independent care providers like Anglian Care must show that they have high standards across the board in all of the types of care services they provide. If we were to fail in one area, then this could affect our overall CQC rating across the board despite being operationally outstanding in other areas.

At first glance, the way CQC rates care providers may seem a little harsh or even unfair. However, we are talking about care here, not some other type of impersonal service provision. As such, it is entirely right that all care providers are held to the highest standards in all that they do. Furthermore, it is also right that service providers keep abreast of the latest industry best practices and push for ever-higher standards of care.
Please note that the CQC rates care providers using a four-point scale. As such, all social care providers are classed as outstanding, good, requiring improvement or inadequate. We’re really proud to say that our Chelmsford branch was recently rated as Good in our CQC report.