Posted: 2 October 2017
Karen Culshaw, Adult Social Care Policy Manager and Gloria Dowling, Adult Social Care Inspection Manager at the Care Quality Commission (CQC), visited the East London Registered Manager Network recently. They took this opportunity to answer providers’ key questions and to listen and learn about the issues and challenges they face. They took away some valuable insights that will inform how they seek to improve what the CQC do and how they do it.
Karen Culshaw, CQC
We were really pleased to be invited to join the North East London Registered Manager Network for their June meeting, bringing together a wide range of providers including domiciliary, residential, and housing with care from Newham, Tower Hamlets, Waltham Forest and Hackney. Another guest from a local authority commissioning team had also been invited. The Chair and organiser of the network had gathered a number of key questions and issues that the group wanted to discuss with CQC and other partners in the system, and these were shared with us in advance of the meeting so we could identify the right people to attend and to prepare the most useful and relevant information to share on the day.
Attending such external meetings from CQC, you never quite know what to expect! Will it feel like walking into the lion’s den? Or will people feel too defensive or wary to engage in an open and honest conversation?
There was no need to worry on any front. The network members were extremely friendly and inviting, and we all engaged in a positive and constructive informal group discussion about the various issues they had raised, plus other interesting debates that emerged throughout the day.
Topics of conversation included; inconsistency between CQC inspectors, duplication and inconsistencies between CQC and local authority commissioning/contract monitoring, potentially unrealistic expectations about quality in the current financial climate, where responsibility lies when quality is impacted negatively by other parts of the system and the lack of a joined-up approach to local service delivery and from local inspection teams.
The feedback we had afterwards was that the members really appreciated us attending the network and joining them for these timely and important debates. Network members were interested in updates we were able to share with them, such as news about Quality Matters and the local area system reviews CQC has been asked to undertake. Many of these new activities seek to address some of the system-wide concerns the network had raised with us.
We could answer most of their questions but were also honest when we did not have all the answers for them. We certainly learnt a few things that we were, personally, not aware of before, which we agreed to take back to CQC and explore further. For example, it was brought to our attention that registered managers are asked for feedback about their inspection experience but we were not aware of where this information ends up within CQC. We agreed it would be valuable if the inspection managers could see this feedback to inform learning and development of individual inspectors and local teams.
The majority of the discussion was also highly relevant to many of the questions posed in the second of CQC’s consultations on the next phase of regulation. So we agreed, with the network’s permission, to submit notes and suggestions from the meeting to the consultation.
There are over 150 networks in England. If you’re a registered manager, you can find your local registered manager network here.