As the CQC is a public body, it must be able to show that its decisions and inspections are lawful and have followed the correct procedures. This is why the factual accuracy check was introduced for any provider to have a final say before inspection reports are released.
The factual accuracy check deals allow health and social care providers to challenge areas of a draft CQC report that they believe is wrong or incomplete. This is an important phase as it enables the providers to rectify the contentious points before the report goes public. It also means that it is very difficult for providers to subsequently challenge reports once they have been published.
The CQC state that: “the factual accuracy process gives inspectors and providers the opportunity to ensure that they see and consider all relevant information that will form the basis of CQC’s judgements.”
What Is the Timeline from Receiving the Factual Accuracy Draft Report?
When issuing a draft report, providers will receive an email from the CQC that states they have 10 working days from the date of the email to submit their challenge. This includes the points you wish to make and any extra supporting information that you think is essential “to influence the content the report and/or judgements.”
What Is the Problem?
Many providers have claimed that the email from the CQC has been dated one or more days before it is actually sent. This means that many providers have been advised that their deadline is actually a lot earlier than it really is.
It is assumed that the CQC are generating their letters and dating them with the presumption the email will be sent on the same day.
However, some inspectors have been asking providers for factual accuracy challenges before the 10 working days are up. This has meant many providers have felt they are out of time for their challenge submission and have had their reports published despite not being finalised through the process.
What Should You Do as a Provider?
As a provider, it is important that you calculate the correct deadline from the date you receive the draft report by email.
If your covering letter is a different date to your report, it is advisable that you contact the CQC for written confirmation of your deadline.
This ensures that you have enough time to challenge the draft report before it is published and can benefit from the full 10 working day period.
How Do I Challenge the Factual Accuracy Report?
If you are unhappy with your factual accuracy report and its ratings, is important that you utilise this process.
To challenge, you must ensure that you have solid grounds to do so. You must also ensure that your challenge is laid out clearly and concisely with robust evidence to support your claims.
If you have received a draft inspection and want to make a factual accuracy challenge, contact us today and our team of specialists can advise you of the next steps.