individual needs, but also how they are likely to impact on the wider service. Outstanding compliance

management systems, which can absorb, distil and summarise best practice, can be transformative, as they help managers to stay on top of legislation, standards and guidance. Most importantly, in a pandemic where policy and best practice are constantly shifting, these systems can quickly circulate policy updates to staff as and when they need them. Take the CQC, for example. With the

CQC temporarily suspending inspections, it is focusing on a supportive and advisory role. In so doing, it regularly provides updates on its website and by email. Not only can these key updates be easily lost in an overly crowded inbox, sometimes they can be complex and it can be hard to understand the impact for individual services. However, subscribing to a compliance

management system, which breaks down new areas of best practice and guidance - from a range of sources - into simple digestible chunks - can help ensure that the service remains ‘effective’ even when policy is constantly changing. That in itself can be a catalyst for

ingraining an ‘effective’ culture across a service, but the bottom line is that it is always the staff who make a service what it is, as they are the ones actually providing the care and managing ongoing concerns.

Skills and knowledge In a nutshell, the second KLOE relates to skills and knowledge. In the Covid-19 epidemic, this KLOE takes on a whole new significance. With many staff self- isolating or having to look after children

In the Covid-19 pandemic, digital compliance management tools are becoming more and more popular

who are at home, it is vital that providers have an effective contingency plan in place to bring in new recruits quickly and seamlessly. This could mean enlisting the services

of volunteers and retired care workers. But most crucially, the service needs to develop local partnerships networks which enable them to share staff and other resources and work in a holistic way to improve outcomes for the local, vulnerable population. In these exceptional times, I have

talked about the need to update staff as policy evolves, but ‘outstanding’ providers go one step further. At a planned inspection they provide evidence that their staff have the requisite skills to deliver and maintain the quality of care. But how do they achieve this in a pandemic? The first step is ensuring that staff

have the right resources at the right time. QCS, one of the companies I consult for, has created a dedicated coronavirus hub, which is free to access. It is constantly being updated as policies change. New protocols can be downloaded in seconds meaning that that staff can focus on providing person- centred care without having to worry that they are behind the compliance curve. Secondly, in a pandemic, maintaining

good lines of communication throughout a service is integral to ensure the delivery of outstanding care. Registered managers need to be extra vigilant in

making sure that team meetings, staff handovers and supervisions take place on a regular basis. Meetings need to be ramped up and registered managers should be focusing on information sharing. They should be using their vast experience to guide, mentor and support their staff. Again, it begs the question how

managers find time to do this? Once more the answer lies in technology. The best compliance management systems can relieve pressure. They provide templates for team meetings, for supervisions and this technology enables staff access to the most relevant information. They also alleviate the burden of

compliance by providing staff with reading lists, which can be allocated in seconds. Systems like these not only give managers more time to support frontline carers, but they also enable staff to assess risk, improve quality assurance and, most crucially, document the actions taken, which is imperative. The danger is that with the CQC

currently not carrying out planned inspections, some providers may be tempted to their take their foot off the pedal in this respect. This, however, would be a big mistake as when the crisis is over the CQC will revert to being a strong regulator and will follow-up on all areas of concern. They will assess the cause, where culpability lay and assess the steps taken by the service to rectify the situation and to ensure that the mistake is not repeated. So my advice is ‘record, record,

record’. With many services currently swamped by the crisis, providers do not necessarily have to focus on how and where an incident is recorded. What is most important is that they actively record incidents and have a robust and effective system in place that allows everything to be systematically logged. It is so much better to be open and transparent, and recognise where errors have been made. Better that, than have the CQC discover an issue and the added complications this can cause.

Food and drink The importance of documentation is particularly relevant to this KLOE. With Covid-19 potentially increasing the risk of

16• June 2020

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