Opening the door on inspections

Guest blogger Annette Bruton, Chief Executive of the Care Inspectorate, explains how the organisation is developing its approach.

Annette Bruton

Annette Bruton

Almost everyone in Scotland will use a care service at some point in their lives.  That simple fact means everyone in the country has an interest in the quality of services provided across the Scotland right now, from nurseries to care homes, and it means the question of what standards we expect will become an ever more important one in the future.

As Scotland’s regulator for care services we have a duty to ensure everyone receives the best possible care; which means care that is safe, compassionate, meet people’s needs and respects their rights.  But there’s more to our role than that, because not only do we have a duty to inspect and regulate, we also have a duty to inform people about the work we do.

Fundamental to the principle of respecting a person’s rights is respecting their right to choose. And people can only make informed decisions if they have all the information they need.  That’s why we have now embarked on a new way of highlighting some of the things we find out through our rigorous inspections.  For example, we now highlight poorly performing services on our website and to the media, as well as doing the same for services which genuinely excel.  We believe this will have the double benefit of helping everyone understand what good and bad care looks like; and that in turn, it will drive standards up across the board.

On top of that we have just launched an innovative new way to communicate some of the other information we gather.  The Hub is our new online resource aimed at Scotland’s 200,000 care workers. It’s a way for us to highlight good practice, current policy, and to tell the world about some of the innovative care which is being provided in Scotland. I urge you to give it a look at www.hub.careinspectorate.com.

Telling people about what we do and the information we gather is crucial, but that’s only useful if the work we carry out ‘in the field’ is robust, transparent and trusted.  That’s why we have changed the way we carry out inspections and now have dedicated inspection teams for the different types of services we inspect.  Put simply our inspectors who are experts in early years provision inspect nurseries, and those with corresponding experience of care services for the elderly inspect care homes for the elderly.

If that seems simple, it’s because it is.  But we want to go further, to ensure our inspection activity is as robust as possible. And that’s why we recently launched a bid to recruit more inspection volunteers.  Volunteers are members of the public with a genuine experience of care, whether that’s from using a service themselves, or because their loved ones have accessed care. We believe that having people with a personal experience of care working alongside our expert inspectors during an inspection means we get an even more accurate picture of any given service.

To find out more about the work we do, and to get involved as a volunteer inspector, log on to our website www.careinspectorate.com or get involved or by calling 0845 6009527.

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