Are you getting ready for the new CQC Single Framework?

The Health and Social Care industry is awaiting news from the Care Quality Commission about the implementation date of the new Single Framework methodology. When the change was announced, the commission reassured providers that notice of the implementation would be given in plenty of time. The implementation has been delayed, and no further dates have been provided.

Most providers of Health and Social Care services are aware of the proposed framework and the use of key statements to assess a service as Safe, Caring, Well-led, Effective and Responsive. But a lesser known fact are the changes in methodology.

The change to the methodology will involve potentially fewer “on-site” inspections, as the decision to inspect will be based on a risk rating. How this risk rating is calculated has not been discussed, and there are indications that this scoring system will not be made public anytime soon.

The new system relies upon the CQC receiving information from providers, local authorities, NHS bodies, relatives, clients and staff to name a few. This information will be fed into the system and scored. The scores will then potentially trigger a review of a service, but not necessarily an inspection.

Any review of service could impact ratings in the future. It will no longer be an on-site inspection which triggers a rating review. The new system may help those providers who have made improvements and would welcome a rating review. An issue may arise, and a rating may be reduced without an on-site inspection.

One of the reviews that will take place will take the form of a specific desktop study, and this issue perplexes some of the providers we speak to. Whilst several scenarios may cause a specific study, the example below may help explain.


An outside agency raises a Safeguarding Alert. The local authority safeguarding team inform CQC. The provider works with the local authority to resolve the safeguarding issue. CQC will now be able to contact the home and ask to see investigations, outcomes and any paperwork relating to the case. If there is a complete documentation set and a robust analysis, then nothing further is likely to happen.

If the records and investigation are lacking, this could trigger a further request for information relating to good governance, a rating review or an on-site inspection.

The above example is based on a provider’s transparent and robust governance process. The example could potentially impact a Well-Led and Safe rating. Therefore Health and Social Care providers must have complete service improvement plans and governance processes in place.

The governance experts at Swift Management have extensive experience in governance reviews in the Health and Social Care Sectors. They can assist with preparing or reviewing governance systems, work with managers to review cases and monitor the governance process or conduct a mock inspection to assist in the formulation of a service improvement plan.

Governance is often misunderstood, and a governance review can help to bring the circle of good governance to life. For more information on our services, please call 020 8087 2072 to speak to one of our experience governance consultants, alternative email