We recently launched the Emergency Support Framework (ESF), which has been developed to underpin our regulatory approach during the coronavirus pandemic.

To support its implementation, over the past couple of weeks we ran a series of webinars for providers setting out what to expect from the ESF. If you were unable to attend one of the webinars, you can catch up via YouTube. We have also updated the FAQs related to the ESF on our website.

In her latest column for Care Management Matters, Chief Inspector of Adult Social Care, Kate Terroni, discusses the ESF in more detail, looking at its aims and what it means for providers.

See also the feedback we have received from Hertfordshire CQC Inspectors

Generally calls have been positive and valued by managers. An ESF outcome of ‘needing support’ should not be seen as a negative or as ‘not managing’ but as a means of helping the manager / provider to access support and guidance. Some managers / providers keen to present a picture of coping.


Managers report a lot of positives about the community spirit within social care – services coming together; staff feeling valued and supported. Staff working extra hours and going up and above.


Support from professionals has been easier to obtain in many cases – for example, OT assessments over video conference reported as easier to get than assessments prior to covid.  This has had a positive outcome on people.


Managers also report that staff are much more vigilant in their care for people – checking them more frequently, checking temperatures, ensuring people are hydrated etc which has led to better care – improvements in pressure care, reduction in other infections / UTIs.


Also there is less pressure on staff to do activities; ensure people are ready to receive relatives; etc etc has meant staff have more time to focus on getting care right.


Better infection control  – cleaning, handwashing etc has also led to reduction in infections / illness.


Another issue is that many services have had a reduction in the numbers of people they support so have a higher staff / people ratio.


Services rated as outstanding were clearly demonstrating their rating in the current climate and going up and above to prevent the spread of covid. Developing policies based on research a head of government guidance and showing innovation and forward thinking.


Discussion with managers during ESF about reduction in incident and safeguarding notifications. Managers report that care managers / social workers have been easier to get hold of and this has allowed discussions, guidance and advice which has in some cases meant managers have taken action to avoid a potential safeguarding situation. There have also been instances where managers have had discussions with the safeguarding team and been advised that issues were not safeguarding. Increased staff vigilance is also seen as a factor.


Some concern that as relatives are not visiting we are not getting concerns reported from them.


Need for vigilance of increased risk of domestic abuse which could be an issue in DCAs and also for staff and managers of services.


In some services for people with learning disabilities and autism managers have found positive benefits from people finding new activities at home such as home based exercise,  bbc bitesize etc and finding different ways to engage with people.

Example of social stories also being used

Concern about the impact of the covid situation on managers and staff and the potential for people needing to take time off with stress related issues in the coming months – managers / staff may now be busy responding and in ‘crisis mode’ but can only keep this up in the short term – we may see high levels of absence from managers in the coming weeks / months due to emotional fatigue / stress related health concerns.


Managers are still spending time sourcing PPE. Although they do not actually run out they feel stress that they may do. Time spent sourcing PPE take them away from doing other valuable tasks. Small providers to do have ability to bulk buy so need to source supplier who will deliver smaller quantities.


Managers still report an overload in information. They value the information on the HCPA website but still receive high numbers of emails from all agencies which they need to read to ensure they are up to date with changes; requests for information etc.