CQC KLOEs

What is the CQC Responsive KLOE, and How Can You Achieve a Good or Outstanding Rating?

Man's hand intercepts falling wooden blocks, while wearing a suit. Title reads: CQC responsive KLOE with Care Quality Commission and Outstanding logo
How can you reach outstanding in the CQC Responsive KLOE?

As your CQC inspection approaches, it can help to examine your practices to make sure they reflect the high standards of care your service delivers. You can use the five Key Lines of Enquiry (KLOEs) of the CQC framework to make sure you have fulfilled all the necessary requirements to receive a good or outstanding rating. 


In this article, we are going to look more closely at the CQC responsive KLOE, exploring how it’s assessed and how to meet requirements in your home care agency.



What are the key elements of the CQC responsive KLOE?

As a service, responding to your client’s needs is at the very heart of your work. As well as planning care in advance, you also deal with unexpected situations that require quick thinking and action. 


To understand whether you are providing a responsive service according to the CQC, you need to be clear on what that actually means.

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The CQC says:


“By responsive, we mean that services meet people’s needs.”



It’s a very short description, but there is a little more to it. The CQC wants to see how you assess a client’s needs, plan their care accordingly, and recognise and respond when those needs change. Ideally, you should be not only meeting your clients’ needs, but also tailoring your service to support flexibility, choice, and continuity of care for every individual.


The CQC responsive KLOE goes into further detail about exactly what is expected for you to receive a good or outstanding rating for your home care agency. It breaks it down into the following three questions:


The CQC asks:

“How do people receive personalised care that is responsive to their needs?”


What does this mean for you?


The CQC responsive KLOE requires you to show that you involve clients in decisions about their own care, giving them as much choice and control as possible. Clients have the right to a fulfilling life that reflects their physical, emotional, mental, and social needs, and you need to show how your service facilitates this. As an example, if your client attends a social club, or has a regular visitor, making sure your visits don’t coincide with these shows your support in helping them maintain social contact and avoid isolation.

Clients may have cultural or religious beliefs that influence the type of care they wish to receive and your service must respect and honour those wishes. 

Birdie's About Me profile is a great way to digitally record and recognise these attributes. Following a structured template, designed to help you ask and record person-centred questions, the new About Me profile covers a broader spectrum of questions around gender, ethnicity and religion, giving you the tools to get the full story of the person sitting in front of you, when on-boarding. Carers can also use this to get an understanding of the client before a visit. It can help start conversations, break the ice and improve trust between clients and carers. Find out more, here.

Birdie's about me tool in action, showing how you can hit the CQC responsive KLOE



For an outstanding rating in the CQC responsive KLOE, you must also demonstrate that you have taken steps to meet your clients’ information and communication needs, using technology where applicable.


Effective care planning


Care planning is the most effective way of ensuring that a client’s needs are considered and also act as CQC KLOE evidence for your inspection. At Birdie, we designed our products to help you create digital care plans that can be accessed by management staff, carers, and clients’ families, removing the need for paper records.  

The use of digital care plans also fulfils the CQC expectation that you embrace technology as a tool to improve quality care for your clients. As a service, you must view care planning as an ongoing and adaptable process that is updated regularly to reflect your clients’ changing needs.

Find out more about Birdie's digital care planning tools, here.


The CQC asks:

“How are people’s concerns and complaints listened and responded to and used to improve the quality of care?”


What does this mean for you?


A service worthy of a good or outstanding rating in the CQC responsive KLOE welcomes and invites complaints or concerns. Despite your best efforts, the nature of home care and the diversity of carers and clients means that concerns can and do arise. During your CQC inspection, you must be able to show that your clients and staff feel confident to raise concerns if necessary and suffer no negative effects as a result. Concerns should be taken seriously and investigated thoroughly, with open and transparent communication. It’s also vital that you can demonstrate how your service learns and improves as a result of complaints.



The CQC asks:

 “How are people supported at the end of their life to have a comfortable, dignified and pain-free death?”


What does this mean for you?


As a home care agency, you have both the privilege and responsibility of delivering care to clients at the end of life. Services that help clients explore their wishes about end of life care in advance, and use this to develop a care plan, are more likely to meet the criteria for an outstanding rating. Recording end of life wishes in your digital care plan counts as CQC KLOE evidence and shows that you are listening and responding to the changing needs of your client.


The CQC responsive KLOE expects you to monitor changes in your client’s condition and respond appropriately and swiftly under the guidance of their medical team. This includes alerting nurses and doctors of any changes in condition or increased need for pain relief. 

As a manager, you will be expected to involve family and friends in decisions (with the client’s consent) and oversee the care plan, providing support for carers and the wider team. When a client has died, you must be able to show that there are arrangements to make sure the body is cared for in a sensitive and dignified way.

We held a webinar with Marie Curie experts, aimed at helping home care agencies implement the right tools to support people with palliative care. Check it out, below.


Barriers to achieving a good or outstanding rating in the CQC responsive KLOE


  • The service is not planned or delivered to fully meet the needs of clients.


  • Clients are not consulted about their own care plan.


  • Care is delivered in tasks and does not consider the wider needs of the client.


  • A lack of training around diversity needs, human rights, and ensuring communication needs are met for clients with a disability.


  • The service doesn’t invite feedback and clients or staff are worried about raising concerns.


  • Where concerns are raised, the whistleblower suffers recriminations, and concerns are not acted upon.


  • Staff do not work closely enough with healthcare professionals to deliver gold standard end of life care.


  • End of life care does not fully adhere to the client’s wishes.



At Birdie, we understand that achieving a good or outstanding rating in the CQC responsive KLOE represents your commitment to delivering the very best care for your clients. 

Birdie’s tools are closely aligned with the CQC inspection frameworks and can help you meet legal requirements for the CQC responsive KLOE, as well as the other four Key Lines of Enquiry. Our system allows you to keep CQC KLOE evidence in one place, so you’re prepared for your inspection. Find out more about how we can help.

Have you got an upcoming CQC Inspection? Check out our resources:

Learn more about the other KLOEs: Safe, Effective, Well-Led and Caring.

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If you've got a CQC inspection coming up, why not check out our guide to getting prepared, 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 and our free downloadable, printable tip sheet to help improve your CQC rating. Just click here to download yours now.

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