Skills for Care

First impressions of the Single Assessment Framework

14 Mar 2024

3 min read

Keith Dias

  • CQC
  • Leadership
  • Management

Keith Dias, Responsible Person for Apex Healthcare Service Ltd, a domiciliary care service in Reading, shares his experience of the new approach being used by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) to replace the earlier inspection model.

We were one of the first providers in our area to experience the Single Assessment Framework. Our service had been inspected three times previously, but this felt to be our best experience for a number of reasons.

This approach marks a significant evolution from traditional inspection methods, and we're delighted to share our positive experience with Skills for Care and other managers in the sector.

Our journey with the new framework began when the CQC selected us as one of the early adopters in our region. Unlike our previous three inspections, this process was a breath of fresh air, marked by a noticeable shift from a traditional 'inspection' mindset to a more collaborative 'assessment' approach. This change in terminology itself introduced a more constructive and less intimidating atmosphere.

The framework's extended timeline compared to past inspections provided a more comfortable pace, allowing us to fully engage with the process. The CQC focused specifically on the 'Safe' Key Question, enabling a more in-depth exploration of this area. We appreciated the advance notice given for the assessment, allowing ample time to prepare and submit necessary documents, including care plans and audits. To streamline this process, we utilised a Dropbox for easy sharing.

In a proactive move, we also submitted additional evidence centred around eight Quality Statements shortly before our virtual meeting with the CQC assessor. This proved to be a wise decision, as it significantly influenced the direction of our discussions.

Our virtual meeting, conducted via Teams with both myself and our registered manager, Jennifer, was thorough and reflective of the assessor's familiarity with the documents we had provided. Following this, the CQC conducted a series of interviews with various staff members, health professionals, and clients, handled by another CQC colleague.

Throughout this period, we maintained open communication with the CQC, providing additional information as requested. The subsequent feedback meeting was highly informative, offering a comprehensive summary of findings against each Quality Statement.

While the final report and ratings were not disclosed at the feedback meeting, the assessor's approach suggested a positive outcome. We were informed of a potential 50-day timeline for the report, a duration they attributed to their commitment to accuracy and thoroughness.

Our experience with this new framework has been overwhelmingly positive, marking a significant improvement over previous inspection processes. It felt more manageable, less stressful, and more aligned with the goal of truly assessing the quality of care provided.

We highly recommend other providers start aligning their evidence with Quality Statements in preparation for their assessments. This approach, done in stages, not only facilitates a smoother assessment process but also provides valuable insights into the ongoing quality of care at their services.

In summary, Apex Healthcare Service Ltd's experience with the CQC's Single Assessment Framework was extremely positive, representing a forward-thinking, collaborative approach to quality assessment in the care sector.


Learn more about what tools are available from Skills for Care to support your service to meet the expectations of the Single Assessment Framework.

Find other support and resources for registered managers with our #ChampioningRMs spotlight.

Topic areas

CQC assessment: first impressions and tools to help

Benefits of being a registered manager member