Quality improvement resource for adult social care

This resource helps shape high quality adult social care services and improve the wellbeing of adults using social care.

It brings together our quality standards and medicines guidelines in an easy to use format, mapped against the Care Quality Commission (CQC)'s 5 key questions. We designed the resource for  people involved in commissioning adult social care. But it could also be useful to provider organisations, and people who fund their own care.

Download the resource

How the resource can help you

You can adapt the content to fit your local work, such as contract specifications, quality dashboards or self-assessment tools.

The resource is an independent source of guidance on practical ways to improve quality. We draw our guidance from current evidence-based research. This means you can be confident that it's based on the best available evidence.

It can help you to:

  • find quality statements from our quality standards
  • look at recommendations from our managing medicines guidelines
  • start conversations with provider colleagues to agree ways to improve quality of care in your area
  • agree ways to measure quality improvements.

This is an invaluable resource that supports managers to engage their staff in developing shared values and principles to drive a quality service.”

Karyn Ross, registered manager, Shared Lives Scheme, Coventry

How we developed the resource

The resource is part of the Quality Matters initiative. This is a shared commitment to achieve high quality adult social care for service users, families, carers and everyone working in the sector.

It was produced in collaboration with representatives from:

  • local authority commissioners
  • provider organisations
  • The CQC.

Contact socialcare@nice.org.uk for a full list of contributors.

Case studies

These case studies show that great things can be achieved when people work in partnership to find a solution.

Shared Lives

Shared Lives began to explore our guidance before a CQC inspection. They were looking for guidance tools that would help them with evidence gathering for the CQC's 5 key questions.

Our quality improvement resource proved to be a great tool to help them start evaluating their service. They used it to identify, reflect on and action quality improvements. Most importantly they used it as a tool to collect and present this information in a format that was easy to share with both staff and the CQC.

Shared lives told us that the resource included great examples of how to make the most of the tool. They found that it was very easy to adapt it to their needs, allowing them to concentrate on priorities within their service. It helped them show the areas for improvement that they had identified, along with the actions taken.

It also helped managers to empower their staff.  Bringing teams together to form collective values and principles, valuing their discussions and implementing their suggestions and ideas for improvement. 

Warrington Borough Council

Warrington Borough Council recognise our quality standards as a valuable resource which provide a shared space for discussions between commissioners and providers. They have included them in service specifications for domiciliary and residential care, including:

They've also worked with a small group of providers to devise a framework  for monitoring quality in local domiciliary and care home services which also includes our quality statements.  The partnership approach made sure that the framework was relevant and helped the providers to improve the quality of their services.

Newham Borough Council

Newham Borough Council worked with a group of stakeholders including adult social care and health commissioners, provider organisations and other key groups and roles to develop their integrated quality assessment framework (i-QAF) dashboard. 

The dashboard monitors, benchmarks and improves the quality of care experienced by older adults within local care homes. It includes relevant NICE guidelines and quality standards along with other guidance and best practice.

Using the quality dashboard as part of a continuous cycle of improvement has contributed to:

  • a 31% reduction in falls
  • improved care home CQC ratings
  • a 20% reduction in ambulance call outs
  • a 13% reduction in A&E admissions.

Effective joint working continues through the local quality assurance group. i-QAF content is regularly reviewed and updated with the latest guidance.

More information

You can find more useful tools and resources, including quick guides to social care topicssocial care quality standards and social care guidelines on our social care page.

Contact us

If you're a social care provider or commissoner, we'd like to hear from you. Contact us at socialcare@nice.org.uk.

We're interested in finding out how organisations are using our guidelines and quality standards to deliver or commission services in an innovative way.

We'd like to showcase these case studies and share them with other organisations as examples of good practice.