Will the ESF be an Open Conversation or a Judgement?

ESF conversation or judgement

Open conversation or judgement? This is the question I asked myself when I read about CQC’s Emergency Support Framework. The ESF was launched on 4th May as a new internal methodology tool. While routine inspections are suspended, CQC will be using this tool to check a number of factors.

The ESF covers four main areas:

  • Safe care
  • Protecting people
  • Staffing arrangements
  • Assessment process and monitoring and manging risk

I am sure we can all see how CQC has a duty to continue to monitor people’s safety during the pandemic.

But here’s what concerns me.

CQC says the ESF is an open and transparent conversation to understand the challenges that services face. It says that this is not an inspection and will not change a home’s rating. However, a score is generated from the ESF. Also, there is no formal route to challenge the results or what is shared with others.

One manager told me that, although their inspector listened well, they did not offer any advice or support. They said the inspector told them they had prepopulated some of the answers from previous informal supportive conversations. What if, during an extremely stressful time, you answered questions during an informal call that you may have answered very differently if you had been prepared and had notes and evidence to hand? You also didn’t know that those answers would be used to score your service at the time you gave them.

The results of the ESF can initiate an inspection or be shared with other agencies such as your local authority or CCG.

I am sure the majority of calls will go well and the inspectors will be helpful and supportive. However, given the concerns, I would advise any manager to be as prepared as possible. You should keep notes during the call and ask the inspector if they have all the information to assure them before the call ends. At the end, ask what the results are and what is likely to happen next.

So, in conclusion, I think the Emergency Support Framework is both an open conversation, where you can express what challenges you are coming up against during the COVID-19 pandemic. But it is also a judgement of how you and your service is coping.

If you would like to be fully prepared for your CQC Emergency Support Framework call, book a Power Hour with a Fulcrum consultant today. For £99, you will get an interactive video call for you (and your team, if you want) where we you will get advice on how to prepare and a personalised action plan to follow.