CQC regulations

A manager doing paperwork


We can help you meet Care Quality Commission (CQC) fundamental standards, prepare for your next inspection and improve your service.

Your staff are your most valuable resource and are vital to the quality of care and support you provide, so it’s important that you recruit the right people, develop and lead them effectively. Getting this right can help you achieve a positive CQC rating, improving your reputation with the public, customers and commissioners.

Our expert advice and support can help you understand what the CQC are looking for during inspection regarding your recruitment and retention, learning and development and leadership and management, and how you can collect the right evidence and information to best demonstrate this.

If you’re a new provider and want to know how we can support you, visit our 'Opening a new care organisation' page.

You can read more about what the CQC do and their handbooks to help on their website here.

Download our free practical tools and resources

  • Our Good and outstanding care guide brings together recommendations and tips from organisations who’ve been rated as good or outstanding to help you think about what you can do to secure or maintain this rating.
  • Our ‘Recommendations for CQC providers guide explains what the CQC expects to see regarding your leaders and managers, recruitment and retention, induction and learning and development. It links to the products and services we have to help you. We updated this guide in Summer 2018. 

    If you’re a new service or manager, this guide is a good place to start. If you’re an experienced service or manager it’s a good reminder of the useful resources we have.

  • Care Improvement Works is an online collection of guides, practical tools and learning materials from across the sector (including the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) and the Social Care Institute for Excellence (SCIE)) to help you improve in specific areas of your inspection. 

    The resources are split up into each area of CQC inspection so it’s easy to find what you need.

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.