CQC launches emergency support framework

Published: 1 May 2020 Page last updated: 12 May 2022

The Emergency Support Framework (ESF) is part of our regulatory approach during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

It provides a structured framework for the regular conversations that inspectors are having with providers and covers the following four areas:

  • Safe care and treatment
  • Staffing arrangements
  • Protection from abuse
  • Assurance processes, monitoring, and risk management

The information that we gather through this route is a further source of intelligence that we are using to monitor risk, identify where providers may need extra support to respond to emerging issues, and ensure they are delivering safe care which protects people’s human rights.

It aids our understanding of the impact of coronavirus on staff and people using services, and where we may need to follow up directly with an inspection, or escalate concerns to regional,and national system partners where they are best placed to address.

These conversations also provide a forum for providers to talk through any tough decisions they need to take and for inspectors to offer targeted local advice where appropriate.

Starting from next week, we will be using this insight along with that captured through other channels to report publicly on how services are managing at this time of increased pressure.

The framework will be rolled out across all sectors but is initially being used with adult social care providers.

Kate Terroni, CQC’s Chief Inspector of adult social care, said:

"Now more than ever, safety remains a priority for the whole health and care system. We have been gathering information on coronavirus related pressures through the NHS Capacity Tracker, direct feedback from staff and people receiving care, a regular data collection from home care services, and insight from our regular conversations with providers.

“The emergency support framework is a tool that helps structure those provider conversations so we can get a clear and complete picture of how coronavirus is affecting services.

“The information we collect from all sources is being used collectively to monitor and respond to risk, ensure providers are able to keep people safe and drive action at national, regional and local level across the wider health and social care system where we see emerging issues that need further action."

Over time, we will look to improve and adapt the process depending on the changing needs of each care sector.

Now more than ever, safety remains a priority for the whole health and care system.

Kate Terroni, Chief Inspector of adult social care