March 11, 2022

How to prepare for your CQC inspection: new CQC framework for home care providers

Table of contents

In this post, you'll learn how to prepare for a cqc inspection.

The CQC has been setting-out its approach to regulation and inspection going forward, as of 2021. Speaking live at the Care Summit on 30th July,  Deanna Westwood, Head of Inspection at the Care Quality Commission (CQC) discussed what’s next for home care CQC inspections and how things will change following the emergency procedures introduced in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

In this blog we’ll discuss the framework for new virtual CQC inspections/calls and what you can expect if an inspector gets in touch. To read more about the new CQC strategy and get a roundup of the talk by Deanna Westwood, click here

The big question for most home care providers is whether or not you’ll you be inspected by the CQC during COVID-19

The CQC are currently using their Emergency Support Framework (ESF) and a combination of other resources to assess needs and support requirements in home care. 

Deanna Westwood stated: “It's our ambition to contact every single provider. If providers haven't been contacted yet we will contact you -  it's very likely you haven’t yet been contacted because you're considered to be a very low risk service. If we think providers need support or if we think they're at risk we will contact them, but we are working through all providers with our Emergency Support Framework as well.”

One way the CQC will be looking to inspect providers is through calls - or virtual inspections.

What does a virtual CQC inspection look like?

  • Inspectors will contact providers to arrange a time and a date convenient to call 
  • A suitable time and date will be agreed and a video meeting set using Microsoft Teams (where possible)
  • If a manager can't make the call, they can speak to somebody else who's appropriate, for example another senior member of staff
  • If your service is deemed to be higher risk, you can expect more contact from your inspector until the emergency period is over

What do you need to prepare for a COVID-19 CQC ESF inspection call?

It’s important to note that these interim calls are informal. They are not replacing inspections and an inspector will not ask to see a whole range of documents. If your inspector assesses you as needing support, the CQC will look at ways they can help. There will be no rating published publicly and you don’t need to prepare for the call. 

What CQC inspection framework will be used?

Four main areas are being covered in interim CQC inspection calls:

  • Safe care and treatment
  • Staffing arrangements 
  • Protection from abuse
  • Assurance processes monitoring, and risk management

You can see the full list of CQC Emergency Support Framework questions here

After the ESF call you’ll be sent a summary record in a .pdf format. It’ll only be shared with you and not published publicly. If there are concerns, the CQC will strive to either provide additional sources of support or arrange a follow-up call. 

Will the ESF call lead to an in-person inspection?

Your ESF call should not lead to a direct inspection. If there are concerns that have been raised by whistleblowers, GPs, district nurses or from other feedback, this will be taken into account and your ESF result may form part of the additional evidence. Your ESF call should be used as a tool for you to ask for support and have an open and honest conversation. 


It seems that the CQC will be embracing a collaborative, digital-first approach from 2021 onwards, and we can’t wait to see the changes rolled out. 

Things are changing in health and social care and we want to be part of the change. We’ve built Birdie to support CQC frameworks and aim to improve our customer’s CQC ratings by helping them to become more efficient, save money and allow them to spend more time on what matters. 

We succeed when you succeed. Some of our customers like Elite Care North West have managed to improve their ratings with the Birdie Home Care Software System. Find out how Birdie helped them by watching their short video, here

If you’d like to know how Birdie could help with your CQC inspections, get in touch with us or book a demo.

Get a free downloadable, printable tip sheet to help improve your CQC rating. Just click here to download yours now.

Got a CQC inspection coming up? Why not check out our top tips for getting prepped? Read the blog, here.

Want to find out more about CQC inspections? Check out our blog roundup of a talk held by Deanna Westwood, Head of CQC Inspections, held earlier this year. She talks about CQC's 2021 digital strategy and how they're evolving the ESF framework in the wake of COVID-19. Or if you're looking to capture evidence that proves your business is outstanding, get some top tips here, or find out how to improve your rating, here

You might also be interested in our on-demand webinar which focuses on improving your CQC score with care management software like Birdie.

Sign up for our CQC preparation webinar

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