Posted by James Sage, Partner
Challenging CQC reports: a guide to success
Since the introduction of the Fundamental Standards and Ratings System in April 2015, it is clear that the Care Quality Commission (CQC) is taking a firmer approach to inspections and regulation. Unsurprisingly we have seen a corresponding increase in the number of enquiries received from providers who wish to challenge the contents of their report. Here are my top tips on how to succeed with a challenge.
Our team has had success in changing the content of reports, getting breaches withdrawn and upgrading ratings. It can, however, be an uphill process and there are several things a provider can do to improve their chances of success. We’ve set out below some helpful pointers:
1 . Act quickly
Successfully challenging a report is time-consuming and evidence-driven. It’s important you seek professional advice as soon as possible. Where we have been successful, we have had the time to get to know providers and their managers, drilled down into the detail of the report, and helped identify evidence to support their case.
2. Follow the format
CQC have recently revised the format for challenging reports and it now includes different sections reflecting the type of challenge you are making i.e. typographical or accuracy of evidence. It is important to follow this. The factual accuracy report is not the place to set out how you are going to remedy issues – save this for your action plan.
3. Challenge the right things
CQC have now conceded that providers can submit evidence to address issues not discussed in the report but which providers consider should be included or have an impact on ratings. Your challenge should also consider whether the inspector has followed CQC guidance, acted proportionately and obtained supporting evidence for comments made by staff, service users and families.
4. Provide evidence
Very often an inspector has not looked at evidence available on the day, repeated damaging hearsay whilst ignoring contradicting evidence or failed to consider the whole picture. If you can provide evidence to support your argument, your chances of success are much greater.
5. Get it on the record
One of the main reasons to challenge reports is to get your response on the record. Very often criticisms in reports can form the basis of escalating enforcement action. You will be in a stronger position to minimise the effects of this action if you correct inaccuracies from the start.
If you would like assistance with challenging inspection reports and warning notices, please contact
01225 730231 Email us
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