New grading scheme for adult social care announced

The CQC has announced plans to develop a new scheme to recognise excellence in adult social care. The scheme – set to be launched in April 2012 – will be CQC-owned, but delivered by other organisations under licence.

A consultation on how to define excellence in adult social care will launch in May, building on work carried out for CQC by the Social Care Institute for Excellence.

The scheme will be voluntary (social care providers can choose to apply for the award) and will involve a proportionate charge. CQC will seek expressions of interest to deliver the scheme in the spring, and will welcome bids from across the private and voluntary sector.

Chief executive Cynthia Bower said: “CQC’s role is to identify and react to signs that people may be at risk of receiving poor care. This means we can say we don’t see signs of risk at a provider, but this is not the same as saying a provider is offering ‘excellent’ care.

“We do, however, firmly believe that care providers should aspire to deliver the best possible outcomes. An excellence award can recognise best practice, be a spur to improvement for providers who already meet CQC’s essential standards, and can help people who need longer-term care to make choices.

“We look forward to working with people who use services, their families and carers, commissioners and providers to develop the scheme.”

CQC will publicise the excellence award on its own website from April 2012, alongside its own reports on whether or not a provider is meeting essential standards. A user-friendly ‘provider profile’ for every CQC-registered adult social care service will be launched this summer.

The Commission stopped awarding ‘star ratings’ under the Care Standards Act 2000 on 30 June 2010, ahead of the Act’s expiry in September 2010.