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Our new inspection model

Find out more about the methodology behind the inspections we are carrying out under our new inspection model.

How are the inspections carried out?

We will carry out a mixture of announced and unannounced inspections.

The aim of our new inspections is to get to the heart of patients' experiences.

We look at the quality and safety of the care provided based on the things that matter to people. We look at whether the service is:

  • safe.
  • effective.
  • caring.
  • responsive to people's needs.
  • well-led.

This approach gives us a richer and broader understanding of the quality provided. It also allows us to comment on new areas that have to do with leadership and governance. 

The inspection teams

Our inspection teams are led by an experienced CQC manager and include experts in their field (for example senior NHS clinicians or junior doctors). They will always include:

Our approach

There are three phases to our new inspection model.

We analyse and review the data and information we hold about the service we are inspecting.

This includes information from:

  • local and voluntary groups.
  • people who use services.
  • other stakeholders.
  • the trust.

This helps us to make a decision about who needs to be on the inspection team, which areas we need to focus on and the concerns we need to look at.

When inspecting the service, we use different methods to gather evidence on whether it is safe, effective, caring, responsive to people's needs and well-led.

We do this by:

  • speaking to people who use services, as well as their carers and advocates.
  • holding focus groups with staff and people who use services.
  • observing care.
  • interviewing key members of the senior management team and staff of all levels.
  • visiting certain services out of hours and unannounced.

Based on the information we receive about the service, we make judgements on how well it is performing.

We publish reports that clearly set out our judgement and the evidence we have used.

Where we have concerns and we decide it is necessary, we will take enforcement action against the service.

Sharing information at quality summits

We will hold quality summits with the service and local partners and local Healthwatch that have sent us information.

These summits will give them the opportunity to hear about the findings of the inspection and to focus on the next steps needed if the service needs to improve.

We will publish our data packs and our inspection reports on our website the day after the quality summit.


Last updated:
10 December 2014