Trust, confidence and communication in inspections

Posted on October 3rd, by geoff in Caring Times, CT blog. 3 comments

By Caring Times editor Geoff Hodgson

I do not number people skills and verbal communication as strong elements in my ‘skillset’ which is perhaps unfortunate for someone who has pursued a career in journalism. I can, at different times, be hesitant, abrasive and shy but I suppose it helps that I am a good listener and usually ask the right questions.

I don’t imagine that, were I to be in the shoes of a care home manager, I would handle a visit from a CQC inspector very well.

At a recent sector event hosted by a major bank I listened to a presentation by Segon Oladokun, head of inspection for adult social care in London South, who said managers should positively engage with CQC inspectors during an inspection. He said managers should argue their case, bringing the evidence supporting why their care home should be rated ‘outstanding’ rather than ‘good’ to the inspector/s’ attention.

Segon said he saw challenge as part of the inspection process and that managers should be at pains to explain to inspectors aspects of the service which might be otherwise misinterpreted, and should challenge inspectors when appropriate.

All well and good, but it presupposes a positive, trusting relationship and that the manager is a brilliant communicator, radiating confidence and that the inspector is a good listener and asks the right questions; if either falls down in these respects then the field is wide open for them to be at cross purposes and for the wrong messages to be given and received. I wonder how much training care home managers and CQC inspectors receive to help them develop these key skills.

  • The CT Blog is written in a personal capacity – comments and opinions expressed are not necessarily endorsed or supported by Caring Times.

3 responses to “Trust, confidence and communication in inspections”

  1. I’ve heard the same from CQC, so we tried. Come the inspection the manager, who is a positive and good communicator, was lined up to illustrate how we are aiming for outstanding. The inspector was not interested and in actual fact refused to look.
    I think they are not interested because they are not giving ‘outstanding’ to homes over around 50 beds and are giving preference to voluntary and not-for-profit.
    And don’t take me down the not-for-profit! My father in law is in a not-for-profit home – £950 per week – awful menu, he comes home for meals and eats like a horse. Last week one of the lunchtime meals was a slice of thin sandwich ham and chips, thin soup with no bread roll.
    By the way, on one Saturday lunchtime, residents commented on the quality of the roast. Apparently the catering suppliers had forgotten the order so they went to a local supplier – the view was clear, lets hope they forget again.
    It leads onto a further point that we always support local trades as price is not everything and we all know, that meat etc from the big distributors is very, very poor quality – No wonder care homes get a bad name – £950 per week.

  2. John Burton says:

    Yet another example of how by being confused about their core task CQC distorts the task of the care home. It is CQC’s task to check that a care home is good enough for its residents. The CARE HOME’s task is to provide good CARE in a good HOME – it’s why we call them care homes. Taking this just a little further, CQC inspectors must know how to understand and interpret what they see, hear, and feel on their visit, and sometime they may need to seek an explanation from the manager or staff, but it is not the manager’s job to “sell” the qualities of the home to the inspector in an attempt to boost their rating. (The ratings were always a bad idea.) The home should not have to do anything extra for an inspection. Since all inspections are unannounced, CQC should understand that every minute of the manager’s and staff’s time is time they take from their core task . . . that is from the residents’ care. (Which is as nothing to the weeks of unnecessary work throughout the year that CQC demands and steals from residents.)

  3. A very reasonable and fair question to ask. The majority of inspectors I’ve met to date do actually put the fear of God in the most confident of persons, myself included. There is the exception of course.

    Until we move away from the culture of fear, CQC being the ones who instil the fear as they are the ones who check up on the providers, and move towards a more collaborative system, CQC landing on your doorstep will always be feared! Why do they not ask for a monthly quality/risk audit to be forwarded by the homes to them monthly, enabling them to monitor the home on a monthly basis rather than a snap shot in time? This would be more informing to them of the trends and themes I would have thought, as opposed to a snap shot and staff going into meltdown at the mere mention of CQC inspectors!

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