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Types of inspection: adult social care services
Comprehensive inspections take an in-depth and holistic view across the whole service. Inspectors look at all five key questions to consider if the service is safe, effective, caring, responsive and well-led. We give a rating of outstanding, good, requires improvement or inadequate for each key question, as well as an overall rating for the service.
We will carry out comprehensive inspections:
- within the timescales above
- where we believe there is a risk to the safety or wellbeing of people who use the service, or there has been a significant deterioration in the quality of that service
- where we believe there is a substantial improvement in quality that could increase the overall rating.
Comprehensive inspections are usually unannounced, although there are circumstances where we may let the provider know we are coming. For example, we may contact a small residential service within 48 hours of the start of our inspection to check that people are at home, or give up to a week’s notice to very complicated community services where careful planning is needed.
Focused inspections are more targeted than comprehensive inspections: they are a response to specific information we have received or to follow up findings from a previous inspection. We do not look at all five key questions. However, we can expand a focused inspection into a comprehensive inspection, which does look at all five key questions, if the scope needs to be broadened in the light of new concerns.
- are structured according to the reason why they need to be conducted, including the risks or concerns raised, the timing, evidence and engagement required, and the resources they will involve, including Experts by Experience and Specialist Advisors
- always look at the well-led key question, plus any other key question that is relevant to the information that triggers it
- are smaller in scale than a comprehensive inspection
- broadly follow the same process as a comprehensive inspection
- are normally unannounced
- may expand to a comprehensive inspection in response to findings.
Some providers deliver services across the health and social care sectors; for example, mental health, community health, and care homes. These services are inspected in different ways. Where possible, we align our inspection process to minimise unnecessary burden on providers. Each service is inspected by specialist inspectors.
We report on and rate each type of service in a comparable way. We do this by using our different inspection approaches in combination. We call this a ‘combined inspection’. Overall ratings are aggregated from the ratings for all of the services that are inspected.
- Last updated:
- 16 October 2017