Neil Cook

Partner, Solicitor & Head of Business Services

DATE PUBLISHED: 10 Mar 2016 LAST UPDATED: 20 May 2021

CQC – new rating system

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) will now be implementing its new fundamental standards on 1st April 2015 to regulate, inspect and rate care homes and community adult social care in England.

The new approach to regulating adult social care in England will involve specialist teams, including trained members of the public (Experts by Experience) who will assess ratings for each service inspected, to determine whether they are safe, caring, effective, responsive to their needs and well – led.

CQC will then rate each of the five key areas in relation to these services as Outstanding, Good, Requires Improvement or Inadequate to enable the public to have clear information to help them make choices about their care. CQC has issued “handbooks” which will enable care providers to understand how they will be assessed and rated. This latest method of inspection has followed extensive public consultation and testing and, according to CQC, “has strengthened and reduced the number of “key lines of enquiries” that its inspection teams will use to guide them on their visits and review their language so that they reflect current practice, do not use jargon and are fully focused on people who use these services”.

Andrea Sutcliffe, Chief Inspector of Adult Social Care for CQC, also states that the new guidelines will “allow our inspectors to really get under the skin of adult social care services so that providers know what we are expecting and how we will consistently rate their services”. It is interesting that the Care and Support Minister, Norman Lamb said that the new inspection regime will “mark a turning point for the way we care for people in this country”. “Gone is the tick-box exercise for inspecting care homes”. However, the briefest glance at the CQC website indicates that the new regulations issued under the Health and Social Care Act 2008 (Regulated Activities) Regulations 2014 designate a minimum of twelve of the regulations as fundamental standards with the remaining regulations still under consultation.

We hope that the new regulatory system will be a step forward to ensure compassionate good care in care homes. However, at first glance it appears that this will be yet another burden upon the beleaguered care home owner.

For further information please contact Neil Cook on 01202 525333 or

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