What is the Care Quality Commission (CQC)?

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) regulates all social care services in England. It is the commission’s responsibility to ensure that hospitals, dentists, care providers, and ambulances provide safe, effective and compassionate care.

The CQC was established in 2009, replacing three former regulatory bodies. Any care provider in England must now register with the CQC and submit to regular inspections and monitoring to ensure they provide appropriate care to those in need.

But the CQC’s role goes beyond inspections and ratings. They also monitor services, respond to concerns or complaints raised by service users, and take regulatory action if necessary to protect the well-being of anyone receiving care.


The CQC is responsible for registering, monitoring and inspecting all health and social care providers in England. Following an inspection, care service providers receive a rating on a four-point scale based on five categories: safe, effective, compassionate, responsive and well-led care.

There is no set interval for how often service providers are inspected. The CQC determines the frequency of the inspections based on a risk assessment. For example, a service provider that regularly receives the highest rating of ‘Outstanding’ may only be inspected every five years. If a service has been rated inadequate, it may be inspected every six months.

The CQC also helps keep the public informed about health and social care provided in England. They keep an active database of care providers that the public can easily search to find important information such as CQC inspection ratings.


The CQC has four core values that guide its work:

  • Excellence – being a high-performing organisation
  • Caring – treating everyone with dignity and respect
  • Integrity – doing the right thing
  • Teamwork – learning from each other to be the best they can


As the independent regulator of health and social care services in England, the CQC plays a vital role in ensuring that care service providers meet the required standards of quality and safety.

Here’s a step-by-step overview of how the CQC operates:

1. Provider Registration:

Social care and health providers need to register with the CQC before they can legally operate. The registration process involves submitting detailed information about the provider and their services. Providers must demonstrate that they meet the necessary legal requirements, such as having appropriate management systems in place, ensuring the safety of service users, and employing suitably trained and qualified staff.

2. Registration Process:

The registration process typically involves completing an application form and submitting supporting documentation. Providers must demonstrate that they meet the necessary legal requirements, such as having appropriate management systems in place, ensuring the safety of service users, and employing suitably trained and qualified staff.

3. Inspection:

Once registered, the CQC conducts inspections of the provider’s services to ensure ongoing compliance with the required standards. The timing of the first inspection is generally within 12 months of registration. The CQC uses a risk-based approach to determine the frequency and type of inspections for each provider.

4. Initial Rating:

Following the inspection, the provider receives their first rating from the CQC. The rating system consists of four categories: Outstanding, Good, Requires Improvement, and Inadequate. The rating reflects the overall quality of care provided by the service.

The CQC provides a detailed report outlining their findings and the reasons behind the rating. The report highlights areas of strength as well as areas needing improvement. Providers are expected to take the necessary steps to address any identified issues and improve the quality of care they deliver


The CQC monitors, inspects and regulates any service that provides health and social care in England, including:

  • Hospitals
  • Clinics
  • Dentists
  • GP services
  • Community services
  • Mental health services
  • Care homes
  • Services in your home
  • Service providers


When the CQC inspects a care service provider, they give that service a rating on a four-point scale. These ratings can help the public understand the quality of the care being provided and help them make informed decisions when choosing between different providers.

The meaning of the four ratings are:

  • Outstanding: Services performing exceptionally well in all areas.
  • Good: Services performing well in all areas.
  • Requires Improvement: Services not performing as well as they should in one or more areas, but are not providing unsafe care.
  • Inadequate: Services that are providing care that is unsafe or of poor quality. These services often fail to meet the fundamental standards of quality and safety. The CQC may take enforcement action against these services.


Everyone has the right to receive person-centred, quality care. If a care provider falls short of providing this, the CQC has the power to take action.

The CQC can hold a care provider accountable for their failings by:

  • Issuing a warning notice that details the improvements that must be made
  • Issuing simple cautions or fines
  • Prosecuting cases of harm or neglect
  • Imposing conditions for a limited time
  • Make changes to a care provider’s registration


Everyone has the right to receive care tailored to their needs and to standards they have a right to expect. The CQC exists to protect people from the harm of care mismanagement and to ensure that everyone can enjoy the benefits of person-centred care.

The CQC plays a vital role in our healthcare system by:

  • Protecting and promoting the well-being of people receiving care.
  • Holding health and social care providers accountable for the quality of care they deliver.
  • Safeguarding the rights of vulnerable people such as the elderly, people with disabilities or mental health conditions.
  • Encouraging innovation and the adoption of best practices in health and social care.
  • Building public confidence and trust in the healthcare system.
  • Providing the public with transparent information about care providers.


For over 75 years, Prestige Nursing & Care has been trusted by our clients and their families to provide competent and compassionate hourly home care.

We are not an agency. Unlike a home care agency, our services are regulated and inspected by the CQC. This means our clients and their families can be assured that the care and support we provide are of the very highest quality. We also manage the entire care process, so that your family has more time to spend quality time together.

Find out why our clients choose Prestige Nursing & Care for a high-quality and flexible home care service.

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We are here to take your call and will provide impartial support and guidance – contact our friendly care experts today to discuss your care needs.

0808 239 1525


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