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New CQC Assessment Framework - Are You Prepared for the Planned Changes?

on Wednesday, 04 October 2017.

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) have published a new assessment framework, due to be implemented this November. This framework will outline CQC's next phase of regulation consultation and how it will affect healthcare practices.

What Is the Assessment Framework?

In very simple terms, it is the framework that the CQC uses to judge and assess healthcare services. 

At present, the CQC's starting point is that they will ask five key questions about the overall service, are they:

  1. Safe? Meaning that people are protected from abuse and avoidable harm.
  2. Effective? Meaning that people’s care, treatment and support achieves good outcomes, promotes a good quality of life and is based on the best available evidence.
  3. Caring? Meaning that staff involve and treat people with compassion, kindness, dignity and respect.
  4. Responsive? Meaning that services are organised so that they meet people’s needs.
  5. Well-led? Meaning that the leadership, management and governance of the organisation assures the delivery of high-quality person-centred care, supports learning and innovation, and promotes an open and fair culture.

There are 11 assessment frameworks applicable to different types of healthcare services, which break down the above questions into Key Lines of Enquiry (KLOEs). Many services refer to the relevant sets of KLOEs when preparing for an inspection.

Why Is the Assessment Framework Being Changed?

In late 2016/early 2017, the CQC carried out its 'Next Phase' consultation, during which the CQC sought feedback to help develop its regulatory approach to reflect the priorities set out in its five year strategy. 

The consultation was carried out, in particular, to address its aim of providing more targeted, responsive and collaborative approach to regulation, so that more people get high-quality care, ensure it was adapting appropriately in response to the new models of care being developed, and greater use of technology.

What Are the Key Changes?

The CQC is reducing its 11 assessment frameworks to just two, as follows:

  1. healthcare services
  2. adult social care

If you provide more than one type of service, this reduction in the number of assessment frameworks should be welcome, and should reduce the complexity of preparing for inspections.

The five key questions will remain the same and inspection teams will continue to specialise in a particular type of service, ie GP practice, dental practice, care home.

The CQC has introduced new, strengthened and enhanced existing themes, as follows:

  • system leadership, integration and information sharing
  • information governance and data security
  • technology
  • medicines
  • end of life care
  • personalisation, social action and use of volunteers.

The above themes are reflected in the amended KLOE, found in the two new assessment frameworks.

The themes echo the changing sector landscape and follow on from ideas introduced in the Five Year Forward View. For example, the embracing of technology in the care environment which is designed with longevity in mind.

What Are the Implementation Dates?

The new assessment frameworks have been published and implementation dates are as follows:

  • NHS GP practices and GP out-of-hours services - from November 2017
  • community and residential adult social care services - November 2017
  • primary care dental services - from April 2018
  • independent healthcare services (including hospice services) - 2018/19

How Can VWV Help?

We have a team of over 30 healthcare specialist lawyers with expertise in interpreting and challenging CQC requirements. Please contact us if you need assistance with initial CQC registration, changes to your registration, understanding or challenging CQC requirements or enforcement action.


For more information, please contact Adam Siwak on 0207 665 0963 or Rachel Crean on 0207 665 0950 in our Healthcare team.

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