Supporting Care Quality Commission assurance

Published: 29/02/2024

Author: Claire Williams and Emily Smith

The Health and Care Act (2022) gave the Care Quality Commission (CQC) responsibility for assessing local authorities’ adult social care services.

In December 2023, the CQC published five pilot assessments. There were lots of examples of excellent practice for the organisations to celebrate and be proud of. However, there were also areas to develop and some themes across the five sites. 

A new Research in Practice page dedicated to supporting you with CQC assurance includes resources on doing assurance differently and opportunities for innovation from inspection, the experiences of a pilot site, learning between CQC and Ofsted, and a summary on the legislation and the role of CQC.

The video resources explore building a culture of relational and effective assurance, and the role of assurance in improvement. The resources are designed for leaders across social care and others looking to understand more about CQC assurance.

A previous blog highlighted a selection of resources to support you through assurance based on some of the themes of the draft CQC assessment framework.

Building on this, we are highlighting a range of Research in Practice resources that focus on some of the common themes of the pilot site assessments, to support organisational development.

Co-production, substance misuse and housing

CQC highlighted that there are some great examples of co-production in practice and the community but there could be improvements in the strategic oversight on hearing and listening to people with lived experience, particularly in areas such as substance misuse and housing and homelessness.

A Research in Practice Evidence Review, co-produced with Social Care Future, could be useful to support improvements in this area. The resource brought together groups of people, with different lived experiences of social care, to talk about five key changes needed in social care in order to unlock an equal life:

The review explores and supports a key change alongside action and reflective points for different audiences such as leadership, practice and lived experience.

Thinking more specifically about the area of substance misuse, a blog on working effectively with people who use alcohol and other drugs harmfully draws on the principles of co-production to work closely with people who need support.

For co-production around housing and homelessness, a Frontline Briefing explores a social approach to supporting and empowering disabled people in housing. The publication considers how applying the social model of disability in practice can support meaningfully co-producing positive outcomes with people to meet their housing needs. More information on using the social model of disability can be found in leading the lives we want to live chapter of the Evidence Review.


CQC has said that there were different practices in how local authorities worked with young people transitioning from children to adult services. Young people’s experiences varied.

Transitional Safeguarding is an ‘approach to safeguarding adolescents and young adults fluidly across developmental stages which builds on the best available evidence, learns from both children’s and adult safeguarding practice and which prepares young people for their adult lives’ (Holmes & Smale, 2018).

You can explore written briefings which describe Transitional Safeguarding, why it is needed and how adult social work is key to developing and embedding a transitional approach to safeguarding young people into adulthood – one for social workers working with adults and one that supports health professionals.

Mental capacity and Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards

CQC highlighted that although there was training underway in some organisations there could be improvements in staff knowledge and the training available around the Mental Capacity Act 2005 (MCA) and Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DoLs).

Video learning resources highlight the consequences of the delay of the Liberty Protection Safeguards (LPS), the current context of DoLs, and how we can move forward and apply some of the LPS thinking to our roles and responsibilities.

A Practice Tool on Mental Capacity Act 2005 decision-making – care, support and treatment aims to support the practical application of the MCA across health and social care. The publication provides information about the legislative context alongside practice examples and tools that can be used by practitioners when working with people who may lack capacity.

Safeguarding adults who may be experiencing abuse or neglect in emotionally or physically close relationships can present practitioners with complex ethical and decision-making challenges. A Frontline Briefing focuses on mental capacity, intimate relationships and adult safeguarding.

Recruitment and retention

CQC has highlighted that ‘staff tended to stay with a local authority when they felt valued, had learning and development opportunities, and where there was a positive culture’.

We have lots of resources to support recruitment and retention and resilience that can inform strategies in this area and help to develop a positive organisational culture which prioritises staff wellbeing.

Research in Practice resources address the difficulties the sector faces with resilience, retention, and high turnover rates, particularly for Black and global majority social workers. The tools offer practical guidance to social workers to support them to feel happier in their roles, reflect on their careers so far and support their colleagues too.

We hope you can use our resources to promote evidence-informed leadership and innovation in adult social care and support you to make the most of the CQC assurance.

Claire Williams and Emily Smith

Claire Williams and Emily Smith are Research and Development Officers at Research in Practice.

Building organisational resilience, retention and assurance

Research in Practice resources explore and support people working in children’s and adults’ services to consider what it means to build organisational resilience.
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