Audit vs. Inspection: Understanding the Difference for Better Compliance

by Mark Topps

I saw a really interesting post over the weekend about the number of different inspections (regulatory, local authority, PAMMS, CCG etc) and the benefits of each, but it got me thinking about how useful any of them are if we do not audit in-between but also the intricacy of both of them going hand in hand.

As the bench markers to operational integrity, I thought I would explore audits vs inspections and help breakdown the difference that sets audits and inspections apart, despite the need for both within services.

Firstly, lets explore what each one is:


Audits are part of the quality assurance and improvement cycle operated by all care providers. They involve a review of the efficiency and success of local and regulated safe systems of work and practice against the proven and agreed standards for high-quality care.

The top 5 benefits are:

  • Ensuring that the team/organisation are following policies and procedures.
  • Ensures safety for those using care services and the teams working within them.
  • Allows for quick identification of risks and issues.
  • Ensures actions are taken to rectify short comings/poor practice.
  • Demonstrate a commitment to high quality care and a culture of continuous improvement.


Inspections help to ensure that care providers services are meeting the required standards of care, that good practice is identified and areas for improvement are addressed and allow for reassurances to regulators and those commissioning services that the needs of the people being care for are being met.

Even reading the above two definitions, it is easy to see how they can easily be misunderstood and viewed as the same thing. Let’s dive a little deeper into the key differences:

Now we have explored some of the key differences, we need to address the elephant in the room amongst social care, with paper vs digital. Managing audit and inspection procedures can be time-consuming especially when they are scattered in paper copies, spreadsheets and emails. I know firsthand how paper is familiar, there’s an air of tradition in social care for them but times are changing, and they are changing quickly.

We know under the new Single Assessment Framework that data and digital solutions are going to play a key part in the evidence and this in itself should make you strongly consider a digital solution. I am a firm believer that a digital solution does not have to be a care planning solution, but something like Audit On Cloud by InvictIQ which can centralise audits and workflows so that data is stored in one place, giving you the insight to continuously improve your service. Audit On Cloud provides a seamless audit and inspection of your service. I know I have seen a number of managers looking for audits based around the new Single Assessment Framework, and this product has just this! With a dashboard aligned to the new CQC Framework and Quality Statements and based on the key questions (Safe, Caring, Effective, Well-Led and Responsive), it really allows you to be able to assess your teams performance. I know I have written and spoken about the power of AI and how this could help shape the future of social care, and I found from using Audit On Cloud the AI powered automated guidance on prompts for evidencing, action planning , summary etc extremely insightful. Audits are all about lesson’s learnt and the actions and continuous improvement, and I found the handover and lesson learn modules within this system incredibly user friendly, easy process flows and able to evidence the outcomes I needed.

Final thoughts

Both audit and inspection processes have their place in all social care services. For me, the importance truly lies with audits as you can carry them out on a regular basis and ensure that the process is that you have put into place are being followed by your team. With the right audits in place, shortcomings can be identified and actions rectified and lessons learnt so you have the reassurance that good care and outcomes are being delivered by your team.


"What gets measured gets improved."
Peter Drucker
Mark Topps

Mark Topps is a social care leader who has worked in the care industry since 2004 and is currently working as a regional support manager. He regularly advocates, appearing on television, radio and podcasts and has started many campaigns for change in legislation and culture within the industry. Mark is the co-founder of The Caring View which is a social care podcast, YouTube show and free resource initiative for the sector. He also co-founded The Health and Social Care Club, which is an audio event hosted on LinkedIn. Mark is also the social media and marketing director at the National Association of Care and Support Workers.


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