Why your annual returns are so important

Every year in January and February, the Care Inspectorate asks care service providers to complete an annual return.  It asks for a great deal of information about your service and the people who use it.  It is important to know why you are asked for this information, and what the Care Inspectorate does with it.

First and foremost, the information you provide in the annual return helps the Care Inspectorate understand your service.  This means inspectors are able to plan and prepare for effective inspections that are focused appropriately.

Not only is the annual return important for planning and focusing inspections, the information you give provides a national picture, which can help the Care Inspectorate and others in a number of ways.

  • Benchmarks and comparisons for inspectors
    Inspectors can compare a service they are looking at with national averages to identify potential issues. For example, if the inspector is preparing to inspect a service with higher staff turnover than average, when they inspect, the inspector might look at the impact this could have had on the quality of care and outcomes for people using that service.
  • Publishing statistics
    The Care Inspectorate publishes statistical reports of some of the annual returns data. It also uses annual return data to inform many of its other publications.  National policy makers (the Scottish Government) can use these summaries and publications to shape and evaluate national policies and providers can see how their service compares with other services.
  • Reducing duplication and sharing information
    The Care Inspectorate shares information with other public bodies to reduce duplication and the costs of data collection for both the taxpayer and the people providing data. For example, anonymised staffing information is shared with the Scottish Social Services Council, so that it can develop intelligence about the workforce without having to collect additional data from care services.

Annual returns are available online at eforms.careinspectorate.com

The Care Inspectorate’s website careinspectorate.com has answers for frequently asked questions under ‘Annual returns’ in the ‘Professionals’ section. If an answer to a question cannot be found there, services can call them 0345 600 9527.

If a service was registered on or after 1 October 2018, it should try to complete an annual return this year. Although it is not mandatory for these services, any information supplied will be used by the Care Inspectorate and Scottish Government. The information entered this year will automatically appear in the 2020 annual return and only information that has changed will need to be entered.

Please note that inactive services must submit an annual return.

Services can log in to their Care Inspectorate eForms account from any computer connected to the internet. If they need help accessing their annual return, they can call the Care Inspectorate on 0345 600 9527.