As part of its new regulatory approach, the CQC have announced that this month they will begin to carry out monthly reviews of the services they regulate. In a nutshell, the CQC will now review the information they have about services on a monthly basis and will take action depending on their assessment of a provider’s risk:

  1. Where the CQC deems a service to be lower risk, it will publish a statement on its website to that effect without inspecting the service. For the CQC to consider a service lower risk, the service must already be rated as good or outstanding, be meeting all the regulations, and not be subject to any regulatory activity.
  1. Where the review indicates that services are higher risk, the CQC will carry out additional checks, such as holding a video conference call with the provider, before considering whether an inspection is required.
  1. Where the review indicates that a service is very high risk, the CQC will come out and inspect.

In order to assess a service’s risk level, the CQC will consider a range of information, including the current rating, information about safeguarding, whistleblowing, incident reports, feedback from people who use that service, national data sources (where available), and other contextual information. As a result, it is clear that most inspections will be triggered by intelligence that the CQC considers will create a high level of risk.

If the CQC considers a service to be lower risk, the CQC will send an email to providers to confirm when a public statement is published. Not receiving an email may be an early warning sign that the CQC have concerns about a service. Where the CQC announce that they intend to carry out an inspection, it is likely that the CQC considers there to be a significant issue in the service and providers will need to prepare accordingly.

My colleague Tim Coolican and I have recorded a two-part podcast series where we discuss the CQC’s new strategy in more depth and what it means for health and social care providers. To listen to our podcast, please follow the links below:

Part 1 - How inspections will change and how providers can prepare

Part 2 - How ratings could change and how to challenge them