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Care Guides > Care Inspectorate Reports Explained | What is the Care Inspectorate?

Care Inspectorate Reports Explained | What is the Care Inspectorate?

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Hannah Karim profile image
10/19/2022

The Care Inspectorate regulates and inspects care services in Scotland to make sure they’re up to scratch and meeting the necessary standards.

Here, we’ve explained exactly who the Care Inspectorate are, how their reports and Quality Inspection Framework Evaluations work, the actions they can take and how they look to improve standards across the Scottish care sector, including in care homes.


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In this article on the Care Inspectorate:

  1. What is the Care Inspectorate?
  2. Care Inspectorate reports
  3. Quality inspection framework evaluations
  4. How often do inspections take place?
  5. What if things aren’t good enough?
  6. Improving standards and supporting advancements



What is the Care Inspectorate?

The Care Inspectorate is a regulatory body in Scotland which monitors the standard and supports the improvement of care services, such as:

  • Care homes in Scotland
  • Support services
  • Housing support
  • Nurse agencies
  • Secure accommodation services
  • Adult placement services

+ other child-related services like childminding, daycare and child care agencies.


Where they find improvement is needed, the Care Inspectorate will then support services to make positive changes.

The English equivalent of the Care Inspectorate is the Care Quality Commission (CQC).





Care Inspectorate Reports

The Care Inspectorate registers around 14,000 care services in Scotland, and their inspectors visit every single one of these, including care homes. Inspectors speak to people using the service, along with staff and managers. Inspections and reports aim to ensure that care services are having a positive impact on people’s lives, based on their care needs.

When the Care Inspectorate inspects a care service, they’ll look at key areas like personal care and support, the physical environment, quality of staffing, quality of management and leadership. Each of these areas is assessed on a scale from 1 to 6.

After every inspection, the Care Inspectorate publishes an inspection report displaying their findings.


You can find a care service and their inspection reports here.





Quality Inspection Framework Evaluations

The Care Inspectorate uses key questions to assess the difference a care service makes to people's wellbeing, and the quality of the elements that contribute to this.

Key Question What’s Looked At?
How well do we support people’s wellbeing? This key question has five quality indicators associated with it:
  • People experience compassion, dignity and respect
  • People get the most out of life
  • People’s health and wellbeing benefits from their care and support
  • People experience meaningful contact that meets their outcomes, needs and wishes
  • People’s health and wellbeing benefits from safe infection prevention and control practice and procedure
How good is our leadership? This key question has four quality indicators associated with it:
  • Vision and values positively inform practice
  • Quality assurance and improvement is well led
  • Leaders collaborate to support people
  • Staff are well led
How good is our staff team? This key question has three quality indicators associated with it:
  • Staff have been recruited well
  • Staff have the right knowledge, competence and development to care for and support people
  • Staff work well together
How good is our setting? This key question has three quality indicators associated with it:
  • People benefit from high-quality facilities
  • The setting promotes independence
  • People can be connected to and involved in the wider community
How well is care and support planned? This key question has two quality indicators associated with it:
  • Assessments and personal planning reflect people’s outcomes and wishes
  • Carers, friends and family members are encouraged to be involved

The Care Inspectorate provides an overall evaluation for each of the key questions above, using a six-point scale from ‘Unsatisfactory’ (1) to ‘Excellent’ (6). We’ve explained each of these ratings below:

Grade What This Means
6 - Excellent Performance which is sector leading and supports outcomes for people which are of a very high quality. There’s a track record of innovative and effective practices and/or high-quality performance across a wide range of activities from which others could learn.
5 - Very Good Major strengths are displayed, with very few areas for improvement. While care homes should strive for continuous improvement, a performance evaluated as ‘Very Good’ doesn’t require much adjustment.
4 - Good There are a number of impressive strengths which clearly outweigh the areas for improvement. However, improvements are required to maximise wellbeing and ensure that people consistently have positive outcomes and experiences.
3 - Adequate There are strengths that outweigh the weaknesses, but only just. The strengths may still have a positive impact, but the chance of achieving positive experiences and outcomes for residents is much less likely, due to key areas of performance needing to be improved. Continued performance at an adequate level isn’t considered acceptable. Improvements should be made by building on strengths while addressing any weaknesses.
2 - Weak Strengths can be identified, but these are outweighed by more significant weaknesses. These weaknesses have a large effect on peoples’ experiences and outcomes. Care homes should provide clear and planned improvements for how these ‘weak’ aspects will be amended.
1 - Unsatisfactory There are significant weaknesses to critical aspects of performance which require immediate remedial action. The welfare or safety of residents will likely be compromised by risks that can’t be tolerated. Those accountable for carrying out the necessary actions for improvement should do so with urgency.

The following care homes in Scotland all have 'Very Good' overall ratings from the Care Inspectorate:

Milngavie Manor Care Home northwest of Glasgow

Beechgrove Care Home in Lanark

Colinton Care Home in the heart of Edinburgh

Four Hills Care Home in Glasgow's northern quarter

Canmore Lodge Care Home in peaceful Dunfermline

Archview Lodge Care Home in Dalkeith, to the southeast of Edinburgh





How Often Do Inspections Take Place?

Inspectors will visit every care service they regulate - potentially around once a year. When a care service receives a poor report, the next visit from the Care Inspectorate will be sooner, whereas a care service that performs really well may not receive another inspection for a longer period.

As we said, there are around 14,000 registered care services in Scotland, and the Care Inspectorate carries out around 8,000 inspections each year.

Higher-risk services are also inspected more often.

Most inspections are unannounced, meaning a service such as a care home won’t be contacted until around 24 hours before the inspection is due to take place.


We’ll always include the latest inspection reports for care homes in Scotland. Below, we’ve included an example of a care Inspectorate report - for Queens Manor Care Home in Edinburgh. All you have to do is click on the widget and you'll be navigated to a view of the home's reports.







What If Things Aren’t Good Enough?

If a care service performs poorly and then doesn’t improve, the Care Inspectorate can seek to cancel the service’s registration through a court application. In emergencies, the Care Inspectorate can ask the Sheriff Court for an order requiring the immediate closure of a care service.





Improving Standards and Supporting Advancements

The Care Inspectorate supports services, providers and partnerships to help make changes that improve the quality of care.


The Care Inspectorate’s support focuses on:

  • Growing person-centred / patient-centred care and innovation - Testing out, supporting and spreading innovative practices while also influencing policies that will further the development of world-class care

  • Growing person-centred quality improvement (QI) - This is integral to the core purpose of the Care Inspectorate’s work, as they have a duty to support improvement in care

  • Growing person-centred involvement and equalities - Ensuring people’s voices are heard to reduce inequalities in social care, particularly for the most disadvantaged and vulnerable groups in society

By further improving care services like care homes across Scotland, people using these services will benefit from a better quality of care.






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