Well-led characteristics in full

Below is a detailed description of how the CQC would characterise an ‘outstanding’ service from the point of view of being well-led and managed. It begins with an overall definition of ‘Well-led’ and then gives an overall ‘outstanding’ characteristic of a ‘Well-led’ service. Then it breaks down this overall characteristic into a number individual parts using the Key Lines of Enquiry (KLOEs) for this domain (W1, W2, etc).

 By well-led, we mean that the leadership, management and governance of the organisation assures the delivery of high-quality and person-centred care, supports learning and innovation, and promotes an open and fair culture

There are key characteristics that make leadership of the service exceptional and distinctive

The leadership, governance and culture are used to drive and improve high- quality, person-centred care

W1: Is there a clear vision and credible strategy to deliver high-quality care and support, and promote a positive culture that is person-centred, open, inclusive and empowering, which achieves good outcomes for people?
People say that the way the service is led is exceptional and distinctive. Its vision and values are imaginative and people are at the heart of the service. They were developed with people and staff in meaningful and creative ways and are monitored and owned by everyone. The service has a strategy and supporting objectives that are stretching and challenging, but realistic and achievable. Staff are strongly collaborative.

Staff are motivated by and proud of the service. There are consistently high levels of constructive engagement with people and staff from all equality groups. Managers develop their leadership skills and those of others.

There is a strong organisational commitment and effective action towards ensuring that there is equality and inclusion across the workforce. There are high levels of satisfaction across all staff.

W2: Does the governance framework ensure that responsibilities are clear and that quality performance, risks and regulatory requirements are understood and managed? 
Governance is well-embedded into the running of the service. There is a strong framework of accountability to monitor performance and risk leading to the delivery of demonstrable quality improvements to the service. Leaders and managers see this as a key responsibility.

Performance management processes are effective, reviewed regularly, and reflect best practice. Leaders and managers provide feedback to staff and there is clear evidence that this leads to improvement.

W3: How are the people who use the service, the public and staff engaged and involved? 
Managers develop, discuss, promote and implement innovative ways of involving people in developing high- quality, outstanding practice that is sustained over time. It achieves and develops authoritative quality standards for the sector.

There are consistently high levels of constructive engagement with staff and people who use services, including all equality groups.

Rigorous and constructive challenge from people who use services, the public and stakeholders is welcomed and seen as a vital way of holding services to account.

The service is an important part of its community. It develops community links to reflect the changing needs and preferences of the people who use it.

The service finds innovative and creative ways to enable people to be empowered and voice their opinions. They and staff are actively encouraged to discuss any concerns. There are high levels of open engagement when they do.

W4: How does the service continuously learn, improve, innovate and ensure sustainability? 
There is a particularly strong emphasis on continuous improvement. The views of people using the service are at the core of quality monitoring and assurance arrangements. Innovation is celebrated and shared.

There is ample evidence that learning from concerns and incidents is a key contributor to continuous improvement.

W5: How does the service work in partnership with other agencies? 
The service has a track record of being an excellent role model for other services. It works in partnership with others to build seamless experiences for people based on good practice and people’s informed preferences. Leaders, managers and staff strive for excellence through consultation, research and reflective practice.

The service has a systematic approach to working with other organisations to improve care outcomes.