Monthly column for providers and professionals working in adult social care from Kate Terroni, Chief Inspector of Adult Social Care.

Hello and thank you for taking the time to read my first column as Chief Inspector of Adult Social Care at CQC.

I am absolutely delighted to have taken on the role and it’s a privilege to join an organisation with such an unrelenting focus on ensuring that people receive high quality care that meets their needs and enables independence wherever possible.

Since joining CQC at the start of May, I have benefited from meeting provider representative organisations to hear how we can work more in partnership and I have also observed three inspections, in which I got to see first hand how my inspectors manage the process and how providers respond to unannounced visits when CQC knock on their door at 8.30 in the morning!

Although joining CQC is a new challenge for me I am not new to social care and am a social worker by background, having spent my career to date in local government, from commissioning to more recently Director of Adult Social Care in Oxfordshire. Supporting people to live independent lives and have their voices heard in all aspects of decision-making is what drew me to a career in social care and still drives me to roles where I feel I can make a big difference.

Having worked in social care for many years I fully understand the value of working together across the sector, listening to the views of people who access services, their families, key stakeholders and providers. I believe that we get better outcomes for people when they are involved in the design, delivery and evaluation of the quality of the services they receive.

I am not new to social care and am a social worker by background.

People who access services don’t experience them in the silos that we deliver and regulate them, therefore joint working between adult social care and the health sector is incredibly important, as reflected in our ‘Beyond Barriers’ report published last year. Health and social care organisations must work together so that people receive good care at all stages of their life.

In a recent column Debbie Westhead talked about innovation in social care, which is another of my key priorities and something I am passionate about encouraging as the regulator. Innovative approaches to care delivery and technology should be tried and tested in a safe and measured way, and then shared with others. Not every idea will work, but we must try things to find out what does and share the lessons we have learnt.

CQC recognise that the type of ‘closed culture’ revealed is not how people with a learning disability or autism should be cared for.

Listening to people’s views, being person-centred in how care is delivered and working together to design services that meet individual needs were notably missing in the distressing Panorama programme many of you would have watched earlier this week. CQC recognise that the type of ‘closed culture’ revealed is not how people with a learning disability or autism should be cared for. A new approach needs to be taken to ensure that people have the services in place within the community to stop situations leading to people being supported in isolated care a long way from home. These findings were evident in our recently published Interim report on Restraint, Segregation and Seclusion. We are in the process of commissioning a review into what we could have done differently or better in our regulation of Whorlton Hall and will update on the progress and findings of this review in our Public Board meetings. You can find our statement on the recent Panorama programme here.

In the coming months I hope to meet as many of you as I can and discussing more of my priorities and hearing your views on them. In June we will be publishing a report on Oral Health in Care Homes which I look forward to speaking to you about.

I hope this has been a bit of an insight into me and what I hope to bring to the table as Chief Inspector of Adult Social Care.

We make sure health and social care services provide people with safe, effective, compassionate, high-quality care and we encourage care services to improve.

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