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Care Quality Commission reviews ‘Experts by Experience’ programme

Author: Martin Hodgson

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) has stated that it has received hundreds of comments from the public in response to its announcement in November to review its Experts by Experience programme.

Experts by Experience are lay people who have personal experience of services and who are included in inspection teams. Their role is to speak with service users and their families, gathering views and using their experience to increase the quality and quantity of evidence collected. They may also watch how a service is delivered and speak to staff, gathering evidence which may otherwise be missed, e.g. identifying risks or concerns as well as good practice.

The CQC points out the value of the programme. It states that, since the start of this financial year, Experts by Experience have supported nearly 4,500 CQC inspections, on average speaking with nine people per inspection.

However, the programme is to be competitively re-tendered for delivery from 2019 onwards and the CQC states that work is now underway to:

  • evaluate the current programme
  • gather service requirements for future contracts
  • speak with staff, current Experts by Experience, members of the public, providers and prospective suppliers.

A care resident and care manager sat at a table checking a clipboard

Currently, there are approximately 800 Experts by Experience employed by organisations contracted to provide them across four regions, North, Central, London and South. As the CQC moves to a more ‘intelligence-driven’ approach to inspection, it wants to review the programme to see how Experts by Experience can help to gather the local and national intelligence from the public that will be a feature of the new regulation systems.

In particular, the CQC states that it wants Experts by Experience to help inspectors to engage more with people and groups who may find it difficult to have access to services or to have their voices heard.

A future model of delivery is proposed whereby Experts by Experience provide three types of support:      

  • inspection – support to site visits and telephone calls
  • monitor and Insight – support gathering local and national information from the public, including special reviews and investigations and work raising public awareness of CQC
  • co-production – support to policy and guidance development and delivery of CQC staff training.

Further information is available on the CQC website here.

The information includes: details of the future procurement, and a document summarising responses to questions from prospective suppliers and the public.

Organisations who would like to register an interest in the procurement, including the option to collaborate with other organisations, are advised to register on the CQC Provider Portal eTendering Service.

About the author:

Martin Hodgson MSc, PGCEA is a community psychiatric nurse by background, and has had a long career working as a senior manager in various health agencies, including mental health, primary and community care.

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