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The CQC Single Assessment Framework Explained

Independent regulator for the health and social care industry in England, the Care Quality Commission (CQC) have launched the new single assessment framework.


In a bid to simplify the assessment process, the CQC have made a number of changes that will better reflect the way care is actually delivered.


cqc single assessment framework


The assessment framework considers five key questions together with the CQC's historical ratings system which are both used to determine the quality of care provided.


The CQC will begin by introducing the new framework in phases and will look to provide clarity when it will be put in place directly with providers.


A sneak peek at the framework was published in July this year to enable care providers and stakeholders to become familiar with it by reading more about the CQC's quality statements and evidence categories.


However, the regulator are keen to build on this available information throughout 2022 including what evidence will be required in the assessments of each service type together with what the assessments will actually look like.


From September 2022, the CQC will expand the early adopter group to include a small number of GP practices, independent providers and care homes.



Why the CQC are changing the assessment framework?

Below are the three main reasons for change:

  • Simplify things to enable those to focus on what matters - Patients.

  • Give a clearer picture on how care is actually delivered.

  • Provide one framework to connect the CQC's registration activity to our assessments of quality.

What’s different to the CQC Assessment?


The CQC have already confirmed that the quality rating and five key questions will remain a key focus of their approach. However, the key lines of enquiry (KLOEs) will be replaced by prompts with new 'quality statements'.

It is hoped that these changes will reduce the duplication that is currently within the four current separate assessment frameworks to allow the CQC to focus on specific topic areas under each of the key questions while linking to relevant regulations.


The CQC names the quality statements 'we statements' as they're are written from the provider's perspective to help them better understand what the CQC expects of them


These statements are a result of previous work developed in collaboration with Think Local Act Personal (TLAP), National Voices and the Coalition of Collaborative Care on Making it Real.


The CQC were committed to maintaining this ethos when developing the single assessment framework.

Importantly, we’ll base our assessments of quality in all types of services, and at all levels, on this single assessment framework. For local authorities and integrated care systems, we will use a subset of the quality statements being published today.

- Care Quality Commission

In order to make the CQC's judgements more structured and consistent, they have also developed a further six categories for the evidence they collect:

  • people’s experiences

  • feedback from staff and leaders

  • observations of care

  • feedback from partners

  • processes

  • outcomes of care.

The CQC want to give clarity to providers and also the public about how they use the information they have about care in a service or local area,


This means that for each statement, the CQC will outline exactly what evidence is required.


Of course, this evidence will vary from setting to setting. For example, the evidence that the CQC collects from a GP Practice will be a lot different to the evidence collected from a home care facility.

'To fulfil the ambitions in our strategy, the assessment framework emphasises the need to create cultures that learn and improve, and we set expectations for how services and providers need to work together, and within systems, to plan and deliver safe, person-centred care.
'We’ve developed our new assessment framework following almost nine months of engagement and thousands of interactions with providers, people who use services and other stakeholders. 'Feedback told us that stakeholders support the simplicity of our new framework. Having just 34 topic areas across the five key questions means that providers will be much clearer about what we’re looking for in our assessments.'

- Care Quality Commission


Feedback from users showed that although they valued the simplicity of the approach, many felt the language could have benefitted from much less jargon.


The CQC have therefore created some guidance that shows examples of the evidence the CQC collects from each category.


You can find out more about the CQC's single assessment framework and other important and valuable information below:


How the CQC regulates care providers

What the CQC are doing and when they plan on doing it

The CQC Single Assessment Framework

Please drop us a line or comment to let us know your thoughts on the CQC's Single Assessment Framework. You can get in touch with us here.


If you would like to improve your CQC score and completely simplify and speed up your facility's documentation, you can grab a free trial here.


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