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Having open and honest conversations

  • Organisations we regulate


A key part of the approach involves calling you to have open and honest conversations so that we can support you to resolve any issues and make tough decisions to help you to keep people safe.

Our conversations will help us to understand and explore:

  • the stresses and challenges for care providers and for the wider care system
  • how services are using innovative ways to manage, so that we can share learning.

Having these open conversations with you means we’re able to provide targeted local advice and guidance to help you respond to emerging issues. The nature of this support will vary for each type of health or care service, and as things change with the pandemic. For example, we have already helped providers by coordinating the testing appointments for staff and on the escalation of supply issues around PPE.

Prioritising services to contact

Inspectors will use the information about your service, from both existing and new sources, to decide whether they need to call you for a supportive conversation.

They will also use their additional knowledge and experience of your service to prioritise calls – so services with a higher risk will have priority. We do understand that some risks may be caused by factors beyond your control and you can discuss these factors in any conversation with your inspector. If the inspector is confident that there is a lower risk level, they can decide not to call you, but they will be available to offer you support during this difficult period and we encourage you to call them if you would like advice.

A service with a higher risk level will have more contact from their inspector, as we will continue to monitor and engage with you until the emergency period is over. This approach means we’re able to target our support and action most effectively.

Areas of focus

When we call you, the conversation will focus on four areas:

  • safe care and treatment
  • staffing arrangements
  • protection from abuse
  • assurance processes, monitoring, and risk management.

For each area, we will informally explore and discuss some short questions with you. These mostly focus on how prepared you are and how your service is managing in this pandemic.

We want you to ask questions if there’s anything you need help with. Your inspector can also:

  • point you to relevant sources of support, information, and advice
  • share examples from other services of good practice and innovative ways of how they are managing.

How we will call you

Our calls should not take more than an hour, and many will be shorter. Where we can, we will call you using Microsoft ‘Teams’, which has an online conferencing tool similar to ‘Zoom’. Inspectors will contact you first to arrange a date and time to make the call so that you can plan and make the best use of your time.

Any service with a computer and internet connection can join a Teams call. Inspectors will email you an invitation for the agreed date and time, which includes a link for joining the call – just click on it when it’s time for the call. If you can’t use Teams, we can telephone you instead.

The call is arranged in advance, but if the manager isn’t available because of illness or emergency, the inspector can ask to speak to another appropriate senior member of staff.

Last updated:
01 June 2020