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Essex County Council - Provider Hub
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Quality Audits

The Provider Assessment & Market Management Solution (PAMMS)

PAMMS is designed to support local authorities in its role as assessor of the quality of care delivered by Providers of adult social services. The system includes a web-based tool that will allow users to manage the Provider assessment process, and to support the post-assessment action planning process with the Provider. This system has been developed by ADASS (Association of Directors of Adult Social Services in England) which supports the government to develop adult social care policies and practices.

We will use the auditing tool to provide an assessment of your service to ascertain the quality of the care being provided and to ensure that you are meeting Essex County Council contract requirements. The tool will also highlight any good practice or tools that you have developed within your service and with your permission, we will share that information with other care providers who may find this beneficial to them.

Pre-audit

What happens before my audit?

The audit assessment will be led by one of Essex County Council's Provider Quality Officers.  They will be in touch initially to introduce themselves and to plan the visit. If you have any questions or concerns you should not hesitate to raise them directly with the Provider Quality Officer who will be visiting you. Where appropriate e.g. nursing homes, Essex County Council will invite an officer from the relevant Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) to be involved. 

Once you have received contact, an email will be sent to you confirming the date of the visit and the name of the person(s) who will conduct the assessment.  You will also be sent:

  • A letter outlining the visit including relevant dates, times and those who will be attending
  • FAQ document
  • A provider check list of information that will be required on the day of the visit

Audit on the day

What happens during the audit?

We aim to complete your visit within one working day. However, at times, depending on the size of your service, or where we have been unable to complete all the required steps, a further visit might be necessary. We will inform you of this at the end of the first day visit. Where possible we will try to keep any disruption to a minimum. This is why we provide a check list of information we will require beforehand.

Our visits will involve a more observational approach to assessing quality than in the past, as well as reviewing in house policies and procedures and documentation of people for whom you are providing care and speaking to staff and service users as well as anyone else who may be within the service at the time.  We believe this approach will helps us make a more validated and effective judgement about the quality of your service.

It will be necessary for you to have ready copies of any relevant documentation required, as well as copies of staff and adult's files for the Provider Officer to review.  You may wish to talk about the visit with your staff beforehand and want to think about the best way to engage staff and adults in the visit. If are unsure about what you need to do and have ready prior to the visit taking place, please let us know.

Post audit

What happens following the audit?

Your service will be rated as either:

  • Excellent
  • Good
  • Requires improvement
  • Poor

This is based on a weighted score system attached to each question that is set centrally by ADASS; Essex County Council are not able to change this.

Before leaving, initial feedback will be given to you that will provide you with an overview of the day and a summary of findings. Once the information has been collated and inputted onto the PAMMs system, an assessment will be generated and an email will be sent to you, giving a specific link allowing you access to view and make comments where appropriate. This will be done within 14 working days of the audit being completed.

If you do not agree with our assessment, you will have every opportunity to raise your concerns initially when you access your assessment and you will able to enter comments on these specific areas and present additional evidence to support your views within 10 working days.

This will be looked at by the lead Provider Quality Officer who will look at any comments / representation made, and where appropriate make suitable changes or will return unchanged but with clarification as to why. If you remain dissatisfied with the assessment outcome, this will be reviewed by the Provider Quality Improvement Manager.

Action planning

What happens if my service requires improvements?

Before leaving, initial detailed feedback will be given to you that will provide you with an overview of the day and a summary of findings. If required, we will work closely with you to provide guidance and support to help you address any areas that require improvement immediately.

The PAMMs online system will produce an action plan on areas where improvements are required, and you will need to tell us what actions you will take to address these areas, dates of completion and who will complete these. The system will allow you to interact with it and update ECC when you have completed actions and you will also be able to upload any documents you want the Provider Quality Team to see. PAMMs will also send you and the Provider Quality Officer emails when actions are due or if something has been completed by ECC.

We will then follow this up with a verification visit (where appropriate)  where Provider Quality Officers will work with you to ensure the actions have been addressed accordingly and give further assistance where required. The timing of these follow up visits will be determined by the content and time frame given for completion of the plan.

What happens when the audit process is finished?

We would anticipate services will be reviewed every 12 months. Our aim is to have a positive, constructive relationship with all providers and we want the audit tool to be instrumental to this whatever the outcome of the audit. Officers are available outside of the auditing process to provide support if required.

Last updated: 08/08/2022