CQC coronavirus update for adult social care providers

care quality commission

The independent regulator of health and social care in England

COVID-19 Update


7 August 2020


A regular update for providers and professionals working in adult social care, sharing the latest guidance on COVID-19 and CQC's approach during this period.

Infection, prevention and control in care homes 

We previously introduced how we are looking at infection prevention and control (IPC) in care homes and have now published our new IPC inspection tool on our website.

As we increase targeted and focused inspections of high risk services, this tool will be used to look at how well staff and people who live in the care home are protected by the prevention and control of infection (Key Line of Enquiry S5). Over time, we will look to improve and adapt the tool for other types of services.

The tool will help us to gather information about the strengths of a service and to understand if there are any gaps or concerns around IPC where we can signpost to resources which could help. 

As we all plan to manage any risk of a second wave of the coronavirus and the impact of winter pressures this helpful tool is something you can use to prepare.


Restraint Reduction Network (RRN) standards

CQC is committed to minimising the use of restraint and other restrictive practices.

From April 2021, we expect to see all services across health and social care use training in restrictive practices that is certified as complying with the Restraint Reduction Network Standards. The standards apply to all training that has a restrictive intervention component and provide a benchmark for training in supporting people who are distressed in education, health and social care settings. 

The standards apply across child and adult services, and to all populations, including people using services with mental health conditions, those living with dementia, people with a learning disability and autistic people.

Due to the coronavirus pandemic we acknowledge that the face-to-face training required to comply with these standards is not always possible. However, since April 2020 any training provider that wants to supply training should be certified by the Restraint Reduction Network. We expect providers of services to commission training accordingly.


Adult social care: seven principles for reform

The Local Government Association (LGA) together with 32 other organisations, including the CQC have put forward a set of key principles that should underpin social care and support reform in light of COVID-19. The seven principles cover vital aspects of every part of social care, support and wellbeing,

Visit the LGA website to read the seven principles in full


Help improve statutory notifications to CQC

Statutory notifications submitted to CQC are an important source of information for us and help us better understand the quality of care delivered by providers.

To help improve the quality of information we receive we are working on improvements to the process of submitting statutory notifications.

To support this project we would like to speak to people who work in health and social care providers who have experience of submitting statutory notification forms to CQC.

If you'd like to take part in this work please complete this short survey.


Help shape a new guidance portal for providers

The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) and NICE are working together to build a guidance portal for care providers which will sit on GOV.UK. The portal will summarise the key avenues of support and guidance on COVID-19 related issues facing care providers in a simple and accessible way under different headings. The team working on this would like to test these headings out with key stakeholders to ensure they are capturing the most common issues faced by social care providers. 

If you are interested in taking part in this work could you please complete this survey on the headings by 5pm on Wednesday 12 August.  Please note the headings are still in draft and may change after feedback.


Help improve access to COVID-19 antibody testing

NHS Digital wants to understand how they can support adult social care staff to access COVID-19 Antibody Testing in the community. To support this they would like to speak to people who work in adult social care to understand the experience of ordering kits and collecting data to register tests, as well as taking tests. 

Your help will give them a better understanding of the needs of adult social care services and care staff, and help them to build a better service.

Research sessions will be conducted remotely and last approximately 45 minutes. They will ask you some questions and also show you a website prototype. All feedback will be anonymised, stored securely and used only for the purpose of improving the service.

If you are interested in participating, please contact rachel@hippodigitial.co.uk 


Canvass reform in care homes 

The Cabinet Office has made changes to how the annual canvass is carried out for care homes. The annual canvass is the process Local Authorities (LA's) use to confirm the people's details on the electoral register, to allow them to have their say in elections.

Traditionally, the legal process for canvassing care homes has been the same as any other property in the area. However, starting this year LA's are using an alternative approach, working more directly with care home managers to update their records more efficiently.

Over the next few months your LA will be in touch to help support your residents to register to vote and participate in local and national elections. They know the challenges you are currently facing and will work with you to find a time that works. 

The Electoral Commission has published further information about the process, available for download here, which you might find helpful.


Making sure your building is safe from fire

Due to the ongoing coronavirus risks, measures have been put in place in many care homes to help restrict contact with surfaces. For example, fire doors being held in the open position to allow for passing through without touching door handles. However, some of these measures may mean fire safety measures are compromised.

Providers are encouraged to review fire risk assessments to ensure key areas are considered. This includes:

  • A review of emergency evacuation procedures, including a staff to patient ratio assessment
  • Regular fire drill and fire safety training to take account of any changes to procedures, layouts to the building or vulnerability of people using services
  • Closing fire doors when not in use, or using an approved door holding device linked to the fire alarm system if it needs to be held in an open position
  • Testing and maintenance of fire safety devices, such as fire alarms, emergency lighting, sprinklers etc.

Guidance on completing a fire safety risk assessment is available on the GOV.UK website, as well as an additional good practice document and advice from the National Fire Chiefs Council. You can also contact your local fire and rescue service business fire safety team for more advice.


New guidance on training

Following Government advice on returning to work, Skills for Care have updated their face-to-face training and assessment guidance available for employers, learning providers and in-house trainers during COVID-19.

The guidance encourages digital solutions to deliver and access training. If digital solutions are not possible, then the guidance recommends and assists you to develop a thorough risk assessment. This will ensure any face to face training you assess as needed by staff can be carried out with minimal risk for all involved.

Visit the Skills for Care website to read the guidance in full.


PPE Portal 

Larger social care providers are now able to use the Department of Health and Social Care PPE Portal to order free PPE. This is already being used by some residential care homes and domiciliary care providers.

Due to current order limits offered on the PPE Portal, providers are advised to continue to use existing supply routes as their main source of PPE and use the portal for emergency top-ups.

Email invitations to register on the portal will be sent to the email address associated with your CQC registration by 7 August. More information on what items are available for your sector and service size is available on the GOV.UK website. If you have any queries, such as wanting to change your email address or issues with registering, please call 0800 876 6802.


Strategy 2021: Smarter regulation for a safer future

Listen to our podcast

In a new series of podcasts we'll be exploring potential themes for our future strategy. 

The first four episodes are now available, in which we discuss Meeting people's needsSmarter regulation, Systems and Driving Improvement. We talk about what these themes mean for our strategy and the work we do. 

Listen via Soundcloud or your favourite podcast provider, and subscribe to hear the latest episodes first.


Podcast mic

Watch our webinar recordings

We ran a series of webinars introducing the emerging strategic themes. These one-hour webinars were aimed at health and social care providers and professionals, strategic partners and trade associations.

All of the webinars are now available to watch on our YouTube channel



All CQC offices are closed

Please do not send post - visit our website for details on how to contact us.


Useful guidance

Accessibility resources to help you communicate about COVID-19


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