Drink and Drugs News DDN May 2019 - Page 14

inspections FACTS the changes. Substance misuse providers should ensure that they are familiar with the most recent version of CQC’s guidance, and the new FAC process and forms. The consultation had proposed a number of amendments to the FAC process including a reduction in time – from ten to five working days – for providers to submit FACs, prohibitive word count restrictions and draconian restrictions on requesting further evidence or inspection notes from CQC. Fortunately, not all of these proposals have been taken forward. The main changes set out in CQC’s guidance for providers and FAC guidance are as follows: NEW FAC FORMS As CQC rolls out its new factual accuracy process, Laura Paton explains the main changes for service providers My colleagues have written in previous issues of DDN about the importance of submitting comprehensive factual accuracy comments (FACs) to your CQC inspection report if you consider that the report and/or rating is not a true reflection of your service. Most recently, one of my colleagues set out some of the changes proposed by the CQC to the factual accuracy process which had been put out to consultation among providers (DDN, March, page 13). In April 2019, following the end of this consultation, CQC finalised and rolled out its new factual accuracy process and has updated the provider handbooks to incorporate 14 | drinkanddrugsnews | May 2019 A new FAC form has been introduced and a link to this will be emailed to the appropriate registered person, along with the draft report. The provider then has ten working days from the date of the email to submit their factual accuracy comments on the new form. The new FAC guidance states that all providers must use this form and CQC says that it will only permit providers to depart from this ‘in exceptional circumstances’. It should be noted that there is no statutory basis for CQC to impose a requirement to use this prescribed form and CQC should not refuse to accept other forms of comments unreasonably. However, the mechanism to challenge an unreasonable refusal would be by judicial review, which would be time consuming and expensive for a provider. Providers should therefore endeavour to use the form wherever possible and, if there are any reasons why they cannot, ensure to advise CQC of this in good time, and in writing, setting out the exceptional circumstances that mean the form cannot be used. The new form seems more complex and less user-friendly than its predecessor, especially when it comes to providing evidence to support the FAC submissions. There is a reference to ‘evidence tables’ being given to some types of providers to respond to, in addition to their draft report, but no detail of who specifically will receive these tables or what they will contain. PRESCRIPTIVE PROCESS The new form is exceptionally prescriptive, and seems designed to make life easier for the regulator and more difficult for a provider that needs to challenge a report www.drinkanddrugsnews.com