A report from the Executive Director of Adult Social Care, Wellbeing and Communities on the actions being taken in preparation for the introduction of the Care Quality Commission (CQC) assessment of local authorities and Integrated Care Systems from April 2023.
4.1 Professor Sarah Scott, (Executive Director of Adult Social Care, Wellbeing and Communities), and Emily White, (Director of Quality, Performance and Strategy, Adult Social Care), gave an update on the background and preparations for the introduction of the Care Quality Commission (CQC) assessment of local authorities and Integrated Care Systems on 1 April 2023.
4.2 To view the slide show presentation presented at the meeting please open the link here.
4.3 Members noted the information and were advised to consider their individual roles and that of the committee in anticipation of a visit from the Care Quality Commission. It was reported that a visit could be imminent immediately following the launch date of 1 April 2023.
4.4 Although the CQC inspection approach was not unfamiliar to the council, it had been over a decade since the last inspection of Adult Social Care Services had been made and therefore important for officers and members to familiarise themselves with the regulatory process.
4.5 Members were advised how the CQC assurance process would be used as a lever to develop the council’s strategic approach to improvement, prioritisation and transformation based on the following areas of focus: -
4.5.1 Data strategy
4.5.2 Improvement strategy
4.5.3 Applying a prioritisation approach for the council’s transformation programme
4.5.4 Development of a local account or annual report for adult social care
4.6 Presenting an overview of the timelines anticipated following the launch of the CQC assurance process, the committee was informed that, from 1 April 2023 the council would be reviewing data and documentary evidence from across all local authorities with a focus on care provision, integration and continuity and on assessing needs.
4.7 CQC intended to commence with a limited number of pilot assessments from April. These would be applied to up to 5 local authorities and take place between April and September 2023.
4.8 During the period September to December 2023, initial formal assessments of all local authorities would be undertaken as a starting point. The aim was to carry out up to 20 assessments during this period. Work was underway involving local authorities and others to consider the best way to publish the outcomes of the assessments.
4.9 Members were reassured that a reliable source of good evidence was available and that partnership arrangements were strong. The intention was for the new evidence gathering arrangement to build into the work going forward and not be a one-off procedure.
4.10 Risk management and quality assurance data would help identify any gaps and assist in the transformation of adult services. This and any recommendations from the CQC would aid the continuing improvement programme.
4.11 Responding to questions, the Director of Quality, Performance and Strategy, Adult Social Care, confirmed that links involved in the gathering of evidence and quality assurance plans drawn up by the council and the work of local health systems would be encouraged. It was explained that it was not a straightforward process to produce an overall plan but that it was a sensible approach to share information between the relevant organisations.
4.12 A member enquired into the investment/additional resources required to process the assurance work and was informed that preparations had been underway since March 2022. Whilst it had been necessary to invest in additional resources, including the creation of the Director of Quality, Performance and Strategy, (Adult Social Care), post, the investment was considered a worthwhile investment and an important contribution to the continuing improvement programme for the delivery of Adult Social Care Services. It was also considered a worthwhile investment in staff retention.
4.13 Clarifying the arrangements for the engagement with scrutiny members, the Executive Director of Adult Social Care, Wellbeing and Communities, confirmed that the CQC would want to seek the views of members during the inspection process and proposed that a workshop might be a useful starting point for members to gain a better understanding of what was required. In addition, as series of documents would be produced to brief and feedback to members. The proposal was supported by the committee and agreed that Healthwatch Gloucestershire would also be pivotal to the engagement process. Action by - Executive Director of Adult Social Care, Wellbeing and Communities
4.14 Enquiring when members would be able to consider the outcomes of the local assessments, it was explained that the assessment process was ongoing but that the scrutiny committee would have an opportunity to consider the information. Meetings with partner organisations were being held throughout April, the feedback of which would be shared with the committee as soon as it was available. Action by - Director of Quality, Performance and Strategy, (Adult Social Care).
4.15 One member referred to the importance of public perception and highlighted the need to engage with the public on the new arrangements for the assurance of Adult Social Care in Gloucestershire. Members also stressed the importance of showcasing some of the good work underway and publicising the relationship between the CQC inspection process and the transformation of services.
4.16 The committee noted the information and welcomed the proposal of a member workshop event, plus regular updates at future committee meetings. It was suggested that a workshop event be arranged after April and that potential dates during early May be circulated to members. Action by - Executive Director of Adult Social Care, Wellbeing and Communities.