CQC regulations

A manager doing paperwork


Helping you to understand and meet the regulations and standards for care

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) monitor and regulate care organisations who deliver direct personal care in England.  The regulator expects these organisations to meet their Fundamental Standards of Quality and Safety.  

By regularly inspecting services, the CQC check that they continue to deliver safe, effective, caring, responsive to people’s needs and well-led. The CQC rate the providers they inspect as either outstanding, good, requires improvement or inadequate and make these findings publicly available on their website and NHS Choices.  

Practical tools, resources and guidance that you can use to prepare or respond to CQC inspections



With increased transparency about how services are performing, it is essential that organisations meet high standards.  We have a range of practical tools, resources and guidance to help you to understand and meet the latest care standards and regulations. They can also be used to prepare or respond to CQC inspections.

Our Good and outstanding care guide will help you think about what you can do to maintain or secure a good or outstanding rating when you are inspected.

Our Recommendations for CQC Providers guide will help you to understand the learning and development of workers to meet the Fundamental Standards of Quality and Safety. The guide is split into a number of sections covering care management and leadership, learning and development and innovation.

Care Improvement Works is a one stop shop of free improvement and workforce development resources from both us and the Social Care Institute for Excellence (SCIE). Our resources are mapped to the CQC’s inspection questions (known as the Key Lines of Enquiry) so employers can select the relevant areas for improvement and generate a list of recommended resources to help you.

If you’re a registered manager then our registered manager’s networks, and membership to our National Skills Academy for Social Care gives you access to exclusive resources and support to help you to meet your responsibilities of making sure that your service complies with the standards and regulations; and can help you staying focused on being rated as good or outstanding following your inspection.


What they do

The CQC is the independent regulator of health and adult social care in England. Currently 64% of care service providers in England are registered with the CQC. This includes:

  • care home services with nursing
  • care home services without nursing
  • specialist college services
  • domiciliary care services
  • extra care housing services
  • shared lives
  • supported living services
  • hospice services
  • hospice services at home.

Most providers require a Registered Manager who is responsible for the quality of care that is provided by the service.  Only the CQC can decide who is appropriate to be a Registered Manager but Skills for Care resources explain what qualifications are usually accepted. 

Provider handbooks

The CQC products a range of guidance and their provider handbooks explain more about how they regulate, inspect and rate adult social care services.  Their Provider Guides are aimed at different types of services and can be accessed from the CQC website here.

Registering with CQC

If you’re setting up a new care organisation in England or changing an existing service you need to contact the CQC to see if your service has to be registered.  You can do this via the Care Quality Commission website or Helpline 03000 616161.

Services in England cannot start delivering regulated care services until CQC approval has been granted, a process that can take a number of weeks, sometimes months to achieve.  If you do not have to register with the CQC it is still considered good practice to meet their regulations.

If you’re based in other parts of the UK, you may wish to contact The Care Council for WalesThe Scottish Social Services Council and the Northern Ireland Social Care Council.

The Whistleblowing Helpline’s publication Raising Concerns at Work: Whistleblowing Guidance for Workers and Employers in Health and Social Care includes information about:

  • the importance of whistleblowing as an early warning system of problems
  • an outline of whistleblowing legislation (the Public Interest Disclosure Act 1998)
  • a flowchart of the whistleblowing process
  • top tips for workers who wish to raise concerns, and sources of advice and support for them
  • top tips for operational managers to respond positively when staff raise concerns
  • case studies of good practice, frequently asked questions, and further information and links.

To download the guidance click here.

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