League tables for health service providers

Client: Care Quality Commission

Problem: CQC regulates the delivery of health and social care services in the UK, and publishes information on provider performance. From time to time it conducts special reviews to benchmark the quality of service delivery, and identify areas for improvement. These reviews involve collection, validation and analysis of a wide range of data in a rigorous, transparent and equitable manner, often with tight deadlines for publication.



Colin Elwood was asked to lead a team of CQC analysts tasked with completing the adult specialist community mental health review project, producing "the best possible analysis with limited resources in the time available". The central plank of this work was the scoring framework, which defined a number of performance criteria, each measured by one or more indicators. The scoring model weighted these indicators to produce an overall numeric score for each organisation, and grouped these scores into pre-defined bands. Colin designed an Excel based system which enabled a team of analysts to manage the collection, cleansing and analysis of data and calculate scores automatically, iterating
until all the data were accurate and the assumptions and rules agreed. Sensitivity analyses and statistical tests were run to ensure that no single indicator had undue influence, and that thresholds between score bands were reasonable. Results and recommendations were presented to a scoring panel for approval, then circulated to contributing organisations for ratification. In order to meet the publication deadline, the whole analysis process was mapped out and tracked on a detailed Gantt chart, working backwards from key milestones.

Benefits: Our analysis method and results were accepted with far fewer iterations and challenges than previous reviews, saving significant time and effort, and were published on time. We were also able to draw on lessons learnt to recommend improvements to streamline the methodology used in such review projects, and our approaches to data management, quality control, planning and project management have been widely adopted by other CQC analysts.

Client comment: “Colin quickly assimilated complex information not only about the review but also about the organisational context of the Commission. His project planning and management skills are superb and made all the difference to achieving a positive outcome in line with deadlines. He managed this new team well, in a thoughtful manner and developed rapport with colleagues quickly.”

Contact: Colin Elwood