Key changes to CQC factual accuracy check guidance

The CQC has updated its factual accuracy check (‘FAC’) guidance to give providers the opportunity to tell the regulator about changes made since an inspection. Law firm RadcliffesLeBrasseur says: “Whilst these changes will not impact decisions about ratings, they could be referenced in an amended version of the draft report, or effect a decision on enforcement action.

“Health and social care providers should carefully consider how this tool can be utilised to maximum effect to ensure that the final report produced is a fair and balanced depiction of their service and any ongoing efforts to improve the care provision.”
Other key changes include:

  • Response format: It is now mandatory for providers to submit their responses via the CQC’s new online response form, which will be emailed to the registered person at the same time as the draft inspection report. The online FAC form has a character limit for each response of 975 characters.
  • Grounds for factual accuracy challenges: Under the new guidance, the three challenge sections remain the same as before: Section A for typographical or numerical errors; Section B for information that contributed to a judgement which the provider believes to be factually incorrect; and Section C for additional or omitted information that the provider feels should be considered. The Section B addendum regarding challenges to the interpretation or importance given to information has been removed. However, this information can still be included under Section B.
  • Response timeframe: The updated guidance clarifies that providers have 10 working days from the date of the email enclosing the draft report and the online response form within which to submit their comments to the CQC for consideration.  
  • Confidentiality: The new guidance tightens the restrictions focused on confidentiality, so that providers will not be provided with the full notes taken by an inspector during an inspection or given any information about individuals who spoke to the inspector or shared concerns with CQC. The CQC does say however that it will consider requests for specific extracts of notes on a particular issue where they would be required for clarity.
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