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CQC: What is the Care Quality Commission?

CQC: What is the Care Quality Commission?

By Francesca | 15th February 2022

The Care Quality Commission, or CQC, was established in 2009 with the purpose of regulating care services in England. The CQC was formed by merging the Healthcare Commission, the Commission for Social Care Inspection, and the Mental Health Act Commission into a single public body.

The CQC are an independent regulator that inspects care service facilities and provides them with rating and guidance on how to improve.

They protect thousands of people a year by improving care standards and quality of life for people across England.

What is the CQC Responsible For?

The CQC keeps a register of care providers in England. This allows them to inspect and apply guidance to any providers who may be falling short of the CQC’s guidelines. If care providers are not doing everything in their power to look after their service users, the CQC can take action and step in to protect people in need.

The CQC involve the public wherever they can. This allows the CQC to gather more diverse sets of views and insights. They achieve this by encouraging people who have a complaint or concern to let them know. They catalogue this information to build a bigger picture of affected care services that they monitor. By promoting open and honest communication, the CQC aim to be a trusted voice in the healthcare sector.

If you have a complaint about the care an organisation is providing, you will need to follow the CQC guidelines.

What are the CQC Fundamental Standards?

As listed on their website, the CQC have set out 13 qualities that they believe care services should never fail. They call these the Fundamental Standards, and they use them to evaluate care services.

Person-Centred Care

Treatment must be tailored for each individual in the care setting. Your needs must be met, and your preferences must be adhered to. The CQC do not believe in a one-size-fits-all care approach.

Dignity and Respect

Each person in care must be given respect and quality with no exceptions. You must be afforded privacy when you want it and provided support to remain independent wherever possible.


Everybody must give permission before any care service is provided to them. If you are unable to give consent, a person legally acting on your behalf must instead.


All people in care must be kept out of avoidable harm. You must not be exposed to any care that may be unsafe or unapproved. All care services must carry out health and safety inspections to assess the risks to the people and staff in their care.

Safeguarding from Abuse

You should never suffer any form of abuse when receiving care. The CQC classify improper care as a form of abuse, as well as: improper treatment, neglect, degrading treatment, unnecessary or disproportionate restraint, and inappropriate limits on freedom.

Food and Drink

You must be given enough food and drink to stay healthy while you receive care or treatment.

Premises and Equipment

Places where you receive care must be clean and looked after properly. This also applies to the equipment used as part of that care. Where equipment is used, it must be safe and operated properly by trained staff.


Everybody must be allowed the freedom to complain about any aspect of the care they are receiving. Every care provider must have an easy-to-understand system in place to catalogue and respond to complaints. All complaints raised must be investigated and acted upon if failings are found.

Good Governance

All care providers must have systems in place to plan, review, and monitor the quality of the care. Adequate governance must be established to help the quality of care improve. All health and safety risks must be noted, and actions must be taken to reduce risk factors.


Every staff member must be qualified or experienced enough to ensure they can meet the care standards required. They must be competent and compassionate. All staff must be given enough support and training to help them provide better care.

Fit and Proper Staff

Care providers must have rigorous recruitment policies to ensure all staff are able to deliver the care necessary. Employers must carry out relevant background checks to reduce risk and increase safety.


Care providers must be open and honest with you about your care. Any information they have on you must be shared upon request. They must do whatever they can to keep you informed on any new plans that affect you.

If a service provider makes a mistake, they must investigate how it happened and notify affected people while providing them with necessary support. Service providers must then accept fault and issue a formal apology for the mistake.


When given a CQC rating, the care provider must display it where it can clearly be seen. The care provider should also share this information on their website. The most recent CQC report should be easily accessible by all people in their care.

Who Has to Be CQC Registered?

The CQC regulate many different health and social care services, but not every care provider has to register with them.

You must register if your care service includes:

  • – Treatment and support in hospitals.
  • – Treatment administered in ambulances.
  • – Services by dentists or GPs.
  • – Mental health services.
  • – Support for adults in care homes.
  • Domiciliary care services.

What is the CQC Rating?

When the CQC investigate a service provider, they assign a rating to it. There are four different ratings, and each is marked with a different, easily identifiable symbol.

The ratings are as follows:

  •  Outstanding
    Indicated by a green star, the “Outstanding” rating is the highest rating the CQC offer. It shows that the service provider is adhering to all the CQC’s standards and is therefore trustworthy.
  • – Good
    A green circle means the service was rated good by the CQC. “Good” means that the service is meeting the CQC’s expectations. No immediate improvements are needed, but there will be guidance supplied to help the provider improve.
  • – Requires Improvement
    Designated an orange circle, “Requires Improvement” is for services that are falling below the CQC’s Fundamental Standards. When given this rating, the care service will be provided with guidance as to how they can bring their care up to a more acceptable standard.
    This often acts as a final warning for most service providers. They must improve. If not, action will be taken.
  • – Inadequate
    The worst CQC rating is marked by a red circle, which means that the care service is doing very poorly. When rated “Inadequate”, the CQC will take action against the persons or organisation behind it. They will step in to do everything in their power to improve the service and help the people in its care. If the CQC find the service provider has been endangering the people in their care, they may take legal action.

Can the CQC Prosecute Individuals?

Though the CQC is a public body, they still have legal powers they can leverage against services failing to protect people in need.

If the CQC choose to take action, they can:

  • – Adjust a provider’s registration to impose and enforce conditions to limit what they may do.
  • – Issue cautions or fines to individuals relating to running inadequate care.
  • – They can even prosecute individuals who are responsible for causing harm directly or through neglect to people placed in their care.

Homecare from Abing

If you need additional support at home, homecare from Abing involves visits from trained, compassionate carers who provide high-quality personalised care. We use our in-depth needs assessment to determine exactly what support is necessary and work with you to craft a tailored care plan.

At Abing we offer two main forms of care: domiciliary and live-in. More information on each can be found on their respective pages.

In short, though, domiciliary carers will visit at pre-arranged times during the day to help with tasks such as meals or going to bed. Domiciliary care services are also ideal if you need some respite.

Live-in carers are full-time carers who will live in your home. This means they can offer care at all hours. Their routine presence can also be reassuring, as it means help is always available.

Furthermore, Abing customers will also receive a personal alarm as part of the service.

If you would like to learn more about our care services, be sure to look at our FAQs and other articles in the Help Hub. If you have any further questions, do not hesitate to get in touch. You can contact us using our helpful form, or speak directly to our friendly team on 0800 008 7000.