W&P have just launched our First Set of Policies and Procedures for Learning Disability/Supported Living Services in England, to mark this occasion we thought we would share some tips on how to make the best of your policies and procedures. Providers need to ensure they are not going to get caught out by the CQC over something as simple as out of date policies which could ultimately have a very detrimental impact on a providers overall rating.
All Health & Social Care providers must have strong governance procedures in place to comply with the Well led domain. Yet policies and procedures are often neglected and only referred to when something goes wrong so its vitally important to include Policy governance in your routine quality management processes.
Get to know your policies and procedures
We receive lots of questions and feedback from our customers and have collated the main points that all providers should consider in terms of managing their internal policy governance.
You need to read your Policies – this might sound ridiculous but we receive a lot of calls from customers asking us for a policy they already have. With over 150 policies in W&P’s full sets it’s not possible to memorise and recite them verbatim but you should have a base knowledge of the policies you have in place. A simple tip is to keep a copy of the full index of your policies somewhere visible and convenient for quick reference
You don’t need to have printed copies – we often get asked if we can provide printed versions (which we can at extra cost) but there really is no need – CQC do not require providers to have them and printed version are more difficult to keep safe and administer. The most important thing is ensuring the policies and procedures are communicated effectively throughout the organisation, for example: some providers cover essential policies during induction such as safeguarding and supplement that with a policy of the month system which is discussed at staff meetings. Larger organisations might have an intranet where staff can access Policies using a secure username and password. The most important thing is that staff have been made aware of them, know how to access them and most important of all, they are being applied in practice
Keep policies up to date with good practice guidance – CQC don’t just look for compliance to the regulations, they also want to see adherence to good practice, so try to ensure that your policies refer to or are written in accordance with best practice guidance.
Monitor/Audit – This is where many providers fall over. There are robust policies and procedures in place but they don’t check if they are being applied in practice. Have an annual schedule of routine audits of specific policies especially key subjects like Safeguarding and Medication. Record your findings and clearly document any improvements or changes, this demonstrates a commitment to continuous improvement – essential for a good rating under the responsive and well led domains.
Review them at least annually or sooner if possible. To make this more manageable break it up by doing 25% of the policies each quarter, by the end of the year you will have reviewed them all and then you just start the cycle again.
W&P provide a full suite of Polices and Procedures for Domiciliary, Residential, Learning Disability/ Supported Living and Nursing Services. They are updated every four months and refer to good practice guidance from organisations such as NICE. We can also audit your compliance to these policies to ensure you are applying them in practice.