what is the cqc

What is the CQC?

4 min read

What is the CQC?

Adult social care is full of acronyms for organisations, or conditions, that can be confusing to understand.

However, it’s not as complicated as it might first seem.

In this article we’ll cover the big question - what is the CQC? - so that you can use their services to support your care journey.

Here’s a summary of what we’ll cover:

  • The Care Quality Commission (CQC) is an independent regulator of health and adult social care in England.
  • It seeks to maintain good care practice and holds providers accountable for any failings in care.
  • It also serves as an online directory of care providers with all their contact information as well as official ratings.
care and cqc

What is the CQC?

The acronym CQC stands for Care Quality Commission.

It is an executive non-departmental public body, sponsored by the Department of Health and Social Care.

It inspects health and social care services in England that are integral to the social care system.

You can expect to find reports on care homes, dementia care, domiciliary services and live-in-care

Plus dentists, hospitals, GPs, community and mental health services. 

what does the cqc do

The CQC and adult social care

In this article we’ll explore the CQC’s role as the independent regulator of adult social care in England. 

This means that it is responsible for registering, rating and monitoring care services such as care homes and home care providers. 

Adult social care is a highly regulated sector due to the nature of the care required. 

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What is the role of the CQC?

The CQC is responsible for upholding care sector standards to ensure the best quality of care. 

In addition to this, they take action against any providers who fail to meet standards or provide an inadequate level of care. 

If you want to find a provider for home care visits, the CQC is a great place to start. 

Similarly, if you want to set up as a care provider, you must register with the CQC.

What are the CQC standards of care?

The CQC’s mission is to ensure that health and social care services in England provide people with safe, effective, compassionate and high-quality care. 

It has five key values which are integral to determining the quality of care: safe, effective, caring, responsive and well-led.

What is the cqc

Monitoring standards in detail

These five CQC standards can be translated into key questions when inspecting a care service. 

1. Are they safe?

Uses safety and safeguarding to check that you are protected from abuse and avoidable harm.

2. Are they effective?

This question assesses whether care, treatment and support achieves good outcomes. 

Plus whether it helps you to maintain quality of life and is based on the best available evidence

3. Are they caring?

This question assesses whether staff involve and treat you with compassion, kindness, dignity and respect.

4. Are they responsive to people’s needs?

This questions if services are organised so that they meet the needs of their users.

5. Are they well-led?

This determines if the leadership, management and governance of the organisation are providing high-quality care in an open and fair culture. 

cqc and home care

What are the fundamental standards for regulating care?

There are also 13 fundamental standards that the CQC takes into account when inspecting a provider.

Here we’ve broken down the standards into categories to help you understand what the CQC looks for when regulating providers.


Person centred care ensures that you receive care that meets your needs. 

Dignity and respect while receiving care meaning you are given the right support, access to privacy and equal treatment.

Food and drink must be accessible and suitable while you are in care or receiving treatment. 

Staff must be suitably qualified, and fit and proper to make sure they can meet care standards.

cqc and elderly


Consent given by you (or anyone acting on your behalf) for any treatment received/given to you. 

Safety measures ensure your right to receive safe and proper treatment and any risk of harm is reduced or prevented. 

Safeguarding from abuse prevents improper treatment while receiving care.

Premises and equipment must be clean, suitable and looked after properly.


Complaints system in place giving you the right to complain. 

Good governance with plans in place to improve care and deal with issues. 

Duty of candour to provide transparent information about your care with you and anyone acting on your behalf.

Display of ratings meaning providers must display their CQC rating in the building and on their website.

home care and cqc

What are the CQC ratings?

Services are inspected and scored against each of the five values. 

Once a service has been inspected they will receive a CQC rating. 

There are four ratings grades that can be given to health and social care services. 

Service ratings

Outstanding – The service is performing exceptionally well.

Good – The service is performing well and meeting our expectations.

Requires improvement – The service is not performing as well as it should and we have told the service how it must improve.

Inadequate – The service is performing badly and we’ve taken action against the person or organisation that runs it.


How can you use the CQC?

When searching for adult social care, you will see the CQC rating displayed in directories, websites and premises. 

This is to help you understand where the agency has excelled and what they need to improve. 

It can also give you an idea of the facilities, staff and customer satisfaction with overall care. 

You should use this rating to help you make a decision when it comes to organising care for your loved one. 

Check out their guidance on what to expect from a good care service. 

Are you worried about a loved one?

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Giving feedback on care

Alongside their own inspections of services, the CQC rely on client feedback. 

Sharing your feedback, both positive and negative, helps make care better for everybody. 

It ensures that the right changes are made to get people the care they need.

If you have used a care service, you can share feedback with the CQC here.

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Join their online community

The online community is a place to give your opinions and ideas on campaigns, policies, marketing and more.

Sign up here.

Play a part in improving care services

The CQC looks to the public to help them develop their plans and policies. 

If you have the right experience you may be able to help. 

All opportunities can be found through links on their website. 

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Reporting malpractice and complaints

If you need to make a complaint about a care service you have used, use this link

Finding and comparing care services

Care providers must be registered with the CQC. 

Use their directory of care services to find the best quality care in your area. 

Plus, published reports on service providers are available to help you research care and find what you need. 

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Latest care news

The CQC regularly publishes up to date care news and events, so you can stay on top of what’s important. Read more news here.

All the information you need on the CQC website but if you want to get updates from the CQC, you can sign up to their newsletter and subscribe to email alerts on services that you use. 


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