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Care Quality Commission

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) is the independent regulator of all health and adult social care in England.  They have overall responsibility for registration of health and social care providers and for maintaining standards in care homes. As well as promoting the rights and interests of people who use services, they also have the power to take action on individuals' behalf if services are considered unacceptably poor.

Before 1 April 2009, this work was carried out by the Healthcare Commission, the Mental Health Act Commission and the Commission for Social Care Inspection. These organisations no longer exist.

NB. In Scotland the role of the CQC is fulfilled by the Scottish Commission for the Regulation of Social Care ( and in Wales by the Care Standards Inspectorate for Wales ( In Northern Ireland, the role is carried out by the Regulation and Quality Improvement Authority (

One of their key roles is the continual inspection of care homes to ensure that high standards are maintained. They inspect the homes on an annual basis and rate them on a variety of different subjects, including meals and the quality of care.  The service is then given a quality rating, ranging from zero stars (poor) to three stars (excellent).

Depending on this star rating, the homes will then be subject to regular ‘key inspections'.  These are major assessments of the quality of a service and any risk that it might present.  Homes are also subject to more frequent, random inspections.

After an inspection, the CQC publishes an inspection report that outlines what the service does well and what improvements they need to make.  This report is available 8 to 10 weeks after the inspection on the CQC website and the care home should make a copy on request.

CQC Inspection Report

This must be made available to you on request must include:

  • Basic details including type of service, name, address and number of places
  • A brief description of the service, including details of fees
  • A summary of what the service does well, what has improved since the last inspection and what they could do better
  • A break-down of how well the service meets the national minimum standards
  • Judgments for the key standards for each outcome heading. These are: poor, adequate, good or excellent
  • Evidence of why CQC made these judgments
  • Details of the CQC quality rating awarded
  • A list of statutory requirements – things the care service must do by law according to the regulations – and a timescale for action
  • Details of any outstanding requirements from the last inspection
  • Recommendations for improvements based on the national minimum standards (not a legal requirement but guide to good practice)