The Care Quality Commission (the “CQC”) released a report on the state of the adult social care services between 2014 and 2017. The findings in the report highlighted a sector struggling to maintain an appropriate level of care and in many instances failing to meet adequate levels of safety.

The report did note that most of the sector was meeting the minimum requirements but the CQC was worried by the number of service providers failing to meet either the required standards or whose care service had declined in quality.

During the inspection the CQC was evaluating service providers on five key questions:

  1. Is the service safe?
  2. Is the service well-led?
  3. Is the service responsive to people’s needs?
  4. Is the service caring?; and
  5. Is the service effective?

Safety in care

The report found that 23% of the 24,000 locations inspected required safety improvements, which includes systems of managing medicines and staff levels. The report further found that 2% of the places inspected were inadequate in safety. The CQC also reported on where poor safety had led to prosecutions against care providers. In one instance a provider was prosecuted and fined £190,000.

A well-led sector?

Under this question the CQC were finding out about the leadership and governance of the institutions providing care within the sector. Behind safety the report found that 22% of the locations inspected needed to be improved and that 2% were inadequate. The report also notes that there was a correlation between a well-led institution and a good institution overall. Such evidence is borne out in the similarity between the safety and well-led questions.

Responsiveness in care

The question of responsiveness centred on whether care services were meeting people’s needs. The report found that responsiveness was a positive element of the report with 85% of services being good or outstanding for responsiveness. However, the report also found that 14% required improvement whilst only 1% was rated as inadequate.

Caring within the sector

Caring within the adult care sector was the most highly ranked. The report noted that in the majority of cases care staff treated their patients with ‘compassion, kindness, dignity and respect.’ Moreover, many patients were keen to tell inspectors that they had developed strong ties with their carers. Ultimately, the report found that 92% of care providers were rated as good and 3% were rated as outstanding.

An effective sector?

When the inspectors were analysing the effectiveness of people’s care they wanted to see whether the treatment and support achieves good outcomes and that the treatment received promoted a good quality of life. The report notes that four out of five providers were able to give an effective service. The figures reflect the caring in the system in that 81% of services were rated a good and 1% outstanding.