Part 3 – Provider Information Return
Some time back we published the first blog in a three part series, focusing on the Provider Information Return. The PIR is an online form care providers are required to complete annually for the Care Quality Commission. In part two we addressed practical elements of completing the Provider Information Form. In this, the third and final blog, we get stuck into the questions and how you should approach the content you supply. If you’ve never completed the form before, this will take away some of the surprises and prepare you for what to expect.
Question 1 – Changes in the last twelve months
The old PIR had this question individually for SAFE EFFECTIVE CARING RESPONSIVE AND WELL LED. However, now you’ve just got the one question covering all the five KLOES. This means you have to be concise with only 500 words to detail the changes over 12 months. Restrict yourself to 100 words per KLOE.
Detail how the changes you have made have created improvements for people in your care. Give practical examples. If you focus on and write about what’s good in your service, there’s more chance when they turn up for inspection, they’ll focus on the good things you have highlighted in the PIR. It’s possible they may ask more questions on this particular area in order to ascertain if you’re not just Good, but possibly Outstanding.
What do you have planned for the next twelve months?
It’s important to evidence continuous improvement. Our Evidenced Compliance system really supports you in this. Make any plans for the next 12 months realistic, not a wish list. Link it to things you’ve done in the past and how you’re going to improve upon this. Tie it in to stuff you’re doing and how you’re going to do that better in future. Focus on areas such as surveys, audits and mock inspections (we provide mock inspections as part of our CQC Inspection Support services). You need to show that you are listening and that improvements are triggered by feedback from people using your services.
When you develop a plan you need to know who is going to implement it. When will it be done by? How do you know it’s going to be done? And ensure that plan is watertight.
Question 2 – Who uses your services?
This section includes 27 questions and is an opportunity to shine and share information about the people who use your services. You are asked for specific information on the Accessible Information Standard (AIS) – this is a legal requirement that you have to record, reflect understand and provide information that’s accessible to the people who use your services. It isn’t a notional requirement; you need to evidence how you’ve met the AIS. If you’ve not done that, research what you need to do and put it into action.
Equality Diversity and Human Rights is a real focus for the CQC and they’ve tied that in to the PIR. Look at the Equally Outstanding document on the website to familiarise yourself with the CQC approach to these areas.
The PIR includes questions about protected characteristics and you will need to show how you are understanding, reflecting and meeting people’s characteristics surrounding age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage, civil partnerships, pregnancy, maternity, race, religion and sexual orientation. This applies to staff as well as service users and practical examples will be required. This is an opportunity for you to show how you are effectively using your HR processes, ensuring the protected characteristics of service users and staff are respected.
Make sure documentation reflects management capacity issues by ensuring what you’re saying in the PIR is linked. This includes care plans and how they support capacity assessments, and how that is influencing DOLS and medication. Don’t make statements in isolation; link and connect everything so there are no holes in the audit trail.
Question 3 – The services you provide
Here you get an opportunity to let CQC know how you are using technology. The CQC has changed in terms of what they expect regarding technology use, now they are looking for innovations that deliver improvements in care delivery. Be up front about how you use technology and emphasise how it improves outcomes for service users when applied to care delivery.
Follow guidelines and best practice and use networks such as NICE guidance and SCIE (Social Care Institute for Excellence) as resources. Following the recent report on Oral Health in care “Smiling Matters”, there is now a specific question in the PIR about it – are you following best practice in this? We blogged about Oral Health in care recently and produced a policy to support providers. Read about it here.
Question 4 – Your staff
Individual specialist training for staff needs to reflect the needs of the people you care for and support. Specialist training and the impact it has on the people using services needs to be well aligned. Use examples about how you’ve improved outcomes for people. Include details on the number of staff using supervision and be clear what is meant by supervision. Ensure staff know what supervision is and how it works. Because if you state all staff are supervised, and then the inspector asks a member of staff about supervision and they don’t know what they’re referring to – this gives CQC a reason to mark you down. Record and evidence the fact that you are undertaking that supervisory process.
Question 5 – Partnerships
Give details of the people that commission services from you, up to a maximum of 10. Include names and contact numbers of people so they can get feedback from the commissioners – this data gathering informs their insight programme. They want to know how you work with specialist teams. Take the opportunity to sell yourselves, highlight the links you’ve got with community services and that you’re not working in isolation. They like to see care providers using co-production and cooperation, so if you can evidence you’re well linked within the local community and using resources available, it will reflect well on you. There is a word limit of 500, so be clear and include the best evidence you can.
Question 6 – Quality assurance and risk management
This question addresses safety concerns and how you respond to them. Honesty is always the best policy. If you have had a safety concern let them know, it’s better than them finding out when they visit and that you’ve done nothing about it.
Blow your own trumpet if you’ve won any awards or have any accreditations.
Duty of candour
This is a Yes/No question, but you need to ensure that all the documentation throughout your service supports what you put in the PIR. If you’ve said, yes, we practice duty of candour, and they view your complaints feedback and find you haven’t informed family members in line with duty of candour regulations, you’ll be in trouble.
Include errors such as missed signatures, unmatched stock brands, other small things that count as medication errors. Enter the number of incidents – don’t be afraid of putting a large number if that is a true reflection of the situation. It is important to be upfront and honest about errors so that notifications to the CQC match.
Are there any themes to complaints received? What you’ve done to address concerns? If you haven’t had any complaints that’s not automatically a good thing. The CQC could surmise you haven’t had any because your complaints process isn’t transparent enough and people don’t feel comfortable enough to complain. Ensure people are encouraged to complain about your service, make it easy for them – this shows you’re reflecting people’s needs.
Try and balance compliments with complaints. If you’ve got masses of compliments but no complaints, it might not appear convincing.
Question 7 – Anything else you want to mention?
This question is a catch-all that gives you an opportunity to cover anything not addressed elsewhere in the PIR. Suggestions for subjects you could mention that aren’t in the PIR, but would be worth including:
- Innovative working
- Staff recruitment methods
- The development of a culture, vision and values
- Peer groups or networks you belong to
- How you support End of Life care
There’s a special section for domiciliary care which poses questions on hours of care provided, missed visits, fifteen-minute visits, zero hours contracts and payment for travel time. They are mainly questions the CQC will use to inform the national picture. There are lots of live questions about how domiciliary care is delivered and how these issues are going to be addressed. The more data they collect for their Insight , the more informed their policy decisions in the future.
So, there it is. For additional information on completing the Provider Information Return, the CQC offers useful resources on its website. If in the meantime you are looking to prepare for a CQC Inspection, grow your business by winning new contracts or need support with compliance and policies or completing the PIR, we can help – 0115 896 3999.