CQC recently implemented changes to the above guidance and in order to comply and meet regulatory requirements, please note that while the overall nature of the guidance is similar, the following changes are important enough to make yourself familiar with them. The changes are made as part of the improvement consultation undertaken by CQC last year, on the Factual Accuracy check, which is the process whereby providers can challenge areas of a draft CQC report where they believe it is factually incorrect, or, where evidence in the report is incomplete.
Key Changes made by the CQC are as follows:
It is now mandatory to submit your responses via the new CQC online response form, save for exceptional circumstances, that CQC must be informed of immediately. A link to this form will be emailed to the registered person at the same time as the draft report. This is a shift from the “strongly recommended “ stance of CQC that their online Factual Accuracy challenge was used. The new form comes with a character limit for your response to each point, currently a fairly restrictive 975 characters.
Grounds for Factual Accuracy Challenges
The headings remain the same.
Section A Typographical or numerical errors.
Section B Information that contributed to a judgement which you believe to be factually incorrect.
Section C Additional or omitted information which you feel should be considered.
Note that the addendum that previously existed for Section B regarding challenges to the interpretation or importance given to information has been removed. This is not to say that you are now prevented from making the case that the information, though factually correct, has been wrongly interpreted from CQC. This information can still be included under Section B.
The updated guidance clarified that you have 10 working days from the date of the email enclosing the draft report and the online response form within which to submit your comments to CQC for consideration. The guidance emphasises that this ten day period will only be extended in exceptional circumstances, about which they should be notified, in writing, immediately. T he guidance unfortunately does not provide any indication as to what might constitute such an “exceptional circumstance” !
A welcome change is your ability to send CQC information about action taken since the inspection that may address concerns raised or included in the draft report. Whilst they may not impact decisions on ratings, they could be referenced in an amended report or effect a decision on enforcement.
Part of the new guidance tightens restrictions on notes etc taken by the inspectors. Full notes or information on individuals who spoke to inspectors or shared concerns will not be routinely shared, however, they will consider requests for specific extracts of notes on a particular issue where they would be required for clarity.
The above changes reflect a more regimented approach. The ability for you to be able to dispute the contents of a draft report is crucial, given the possible impact on the business. However, a positive is the option to provide CQC with the changes already in place since the inspection. Consider carefully how this tool can be utilised to maximum effect to ensure that the final report produced is a fair accurate and balanced depiction of your service.
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