Local authority assessments – implementing our new approach

Published: 17 November 2023 Page last updated: 17 November 2023

Completion of local authority pilot assessments

We are pleased to publish the findings of our 5 pilot assessments and want to thank each local authority for agreeing to take part.

Assessing how local authorities meet their duties under Part 1 of the Care Act (2014) is a new responsibility for CQC. During the pilots, we looked at 9 of our quality statements to assess how well each local authority is meeting its responsibilities. This enabled us to give an indicative rating.

  • Birmingham City Council – indicative rating of good
  • Lincolnshire County Council – indicative rating of good
  • North Lincolnshire Council – indicative rating of good
  • Nottingham City Council – indicative rating of requires improvement
  • Suffolk County Council – indicative rating of good

See our local authority assessment reports

We found some similar themes across all 5 local authorities. These included:

  • Outcomes for people were better where there was good partnership working, including with voluntary and community partners as well as health partners.
  • Integrated working around discharging people from hospital was working and had improved the flow out of hospitals.
  • Staff tended to stay with a local authority when they felt valued, had learning and development opportunities, and where there was a positive culture.
  • There were different practices across the 5 local authorities in how they worked with young people who are transitioning from children’s services to adult services, so young people’s experiences were varied

Improving our approach

By carrying out the pilot assessments, we have identified areas that we need to improve to ensure our assessment approach is as efficient and effective as possible. These include:

  • Simplifying the information return – we use this to collect the evidence that we need to understand how a local authority is delivering its adult social care functions.
  • Reviewing our case tracking process to make this more efficient when looking at how individual people access and receive care through a local authority.
  • Further developing how we engage with the public through community and voluntary groups.

We will be implementing this learning into our formal assessments of all 153 local authorities with adult social care responsibilities. These will start from December 2023, pending government approval.

Starting local authority assessments

We will be writing to local authorities to notify them that they will be assessed. This notification will include a request for them to complete an information return and a date for our on-site interviews. The period between receiving notification of assessment to the on-site interviews will be approximately 9 to 11 weeks. We will be starting to issue the first notifications and information returns from early December.

We will take into consideration the following factors when planning the schedule of our assessments:

  • the different types, structures, location, and political make-up of local authorities
  • timing of our assessments of integrated care systems
  • practical factors that could affect our ability to carry out an assessment, for example transport and accommodation pressures due to major events in an area
  • other regulatory activity taking place at a local authority
  • existing knowledge of local authorities, for example prioritising local authorities where there is innovation or new models of care that ;we wish to understand more about, or where there are concerns that may require an earlier assessment
  • local and national pre-election restrictions.

We have updated our guidance on how we assess local authorities. We will publish this following government approval, as required by the Health and Care Act 2022. Until this is published, see our interim guidance for local authorities.