There has been a fundamental overhaul of the CQC’s inspection regime in the past couple of years:

  • in June 2013, the CQC issued a consultation (“A new start”) which proposed a new approach to inspection across all sectors, which proposed risk-based inspections (rather than annual inspections), specialist inspectors and new quality ratings. These were seen as being very similar to an earlier inspection regime;
  • following on from the new overarching framework, in April 2014 the CQC issued draft “Provider handbooks” for consultation, which provided detail on the inspection regime for specific sectors including residential care homes;
  • the new “Provider handbook” for residential care came into effect from 9 October 2014;
  • also in April 2015 new “fundamental standards” set out in regulations replaced the “essential standards”, following the review of the Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust scandal – a new “Provider handbook” was issued for residential care settings;
  • it was originally intended that all adult care services were be inspected under the new framework by March 2016, but on 22 October 2015 the CQC’s chief executive announced further slippage in the timetable to the end of December 2016;
  • looking ahead, the CQC is planning to launch a consultation on its new strategy in January 2016; as a first step, on 28 October 2015 it issued a discussion paper entitled Building on strong foundations in which the CQC is asking “for your views on how regulation can develop ahead of the next stage of consultation on our new strategy in January 2016”;
  • in April 2015, the CQC also became responsible for monitoring the “financial health” of certain care and support providers, especially larger providers.

Press articles

Guardian, 28 September 2015

How will care home inspections get any better with this weedy new system?


Independent, 2 September 2015

Elderly people put at risk as watchdog fails to act on warnings of ‘fatally negligent’ care homes


Telegraph, 22 July 2015

Older people in care homes are still at risk from abuse

BBC News, 8 February 2015

One in five care homes ‘failing standards’

Telegraph, 13 December 2014

Elderly at risk at hundreds of care homes

Telegraph, 19 November 2014

Watchdog gives tips to relatives secretly filming care homes

Independent, 13 October 2013

CQC chief: I’ll open up care home inspections to the public’

Telegraph, 19 August 2013

Record numbers of care homes warned over illegally poor standards


National Audit Office (NAO), 22 JULY 2015

Care Quality Commission. Capacity and capability to regulate the quality and safety of health and adult social care

Care Quality Commission, 14 October 2015

The state of health care and adult social care in England, 2013/14

Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman, October 2013

Care and treatment in a care home A report by the Health Service Ombudsman and the Local Government Ombudsman on a joint investigation

National Audit Office (NAO), December 2011

The Care Quality Commission: Regulating the quality and safety of health and adult social care

Further reading and useful links

Care Quality Commission

What standards you have a right to expect from the regulation of your care home

Thinking about using a hidden camera or other equipment to monitor someone’s care?

Local Government Ombudsman

How to complain about a care home or care in your home

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