Collaborative approach

Standards will support people experiencing care and providers

Following the launch of the new Health and Social Care Standards, which replace the 2002 National Care Standards, the Care Inspectorate is reviewing its inspection methods to reflect the aims of the new standards.

These standards have been developed through close consultation with people who experience care, service providers and other professionals over recent years, and they are significantly more rights-based and outcome-focused than those developed more than 15 years ago.

They are now relevant across all health and social care provision, rather than just in regulated settings, including across early learning childcare and children’s social work services.

The Care Inspectorate plans to start using the standards in inspections of care homes for older people from April 2018 and will undertake significant work before then in partnership with care home providers and residents. It will begin to roll these out in inspections of other types of care thereafter.

Karen Reid, Care Inspectorate Chief Executive, said there will be no ‘big bang’ for service providers. However, providers do need to start examining the new standards now and think about what they mean for them.

She said: “We will work with providers and commissioners during a phased implementation to make sure that we continue to build on the overall good quality of care and support the committed and skilled social care workforce.

“The new standards will form the basis of future inspections, but they are not just designed for scrutiny. They are explicitly designed to describe what people should experience from the way services are planned, commissioned and delivered, and to be used in supporting improvement too.”

There are three main changes to the new standards compared to the previous standards. They are much more person-led than before, which is designed to help people and organisations to work together to support people to direct their own care. They are also more outcome-focused, describing what the consequence of good care should be, not how it should be delivered. And they are applicable across all settings, instead of a separate standard for each category of care or health service.

These three changes are designed to ensure that the assessment of quality is not whether a minimum standard is met, but whether the experience and outcomes for people are positive.

Karen said: “We understand that the care sector will still need guidance on these areas, so they are clear about our expectations of them. So over the coming year, we will be publishing our expectations and guidance and the new standards will allow this guidance to be updated and reviewed over time.

“We want service providers to creatively solve problems and innovate to improve. The new standards are designed to help managers and care staff to plan, do, study and act. Increasingly, our inspection has moved from seeing whether something is done ‘correctly’ to asking ‘how successful is this in improving experiences and outcomes for people?’ The new standards reinforce the new approach completely.

“I have often said that the Care Inspectorate is on a journey from compliance to collaboration, and these standards help that. I am committed to the Care Inspectorate working in collaboration with care providers and care staff to do the thing we all want – deliver excellent care for people who experience care. Together and over time, we can make sure the new standards become a reality for everyone.”