Abstracts: May 13th, 2009

This document sets out findings from research into the value of care quality ratings that is derived by the people who use them. The research was commissioned by the CSCI which has now been taken over by the Care Quality Commission.

In May 2008 CSCI introduced a star rating system to registered care services. The star scale extends from zero to three. The rating is intended to make it easier for people choosing, purchasing or commissioning a service to make a decision as to whether it meets the requirements they are looking for. The main aims of quality ratings are to assist people to make informed decisions about which providers to use, to help in assessing a provider and to encourage providers to improve their service.

The research revealed that quality ratings have the strongest impact and influence on councils who commission care services for people in their community. By using the ratings alongside other sources of information and tools, they can be an effective lever for improving both the quality of services and outcomes for people who use them.

Amongst people who use services and their families, quality ratings are seen as a good idea and a helpful factor in decision-making when choosing a care service. Awareness and usage of the ratings varies between service type and by whether the person is the individual using the service, a relative or carer.

The report is available from CSCI.