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Our new inspection model

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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 carry out a mixture of announced and unannounced inspections.

The aim of our new inspections is to get to the heart of people's 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 often include experts in their field (for example, when we inspect acute hospitals, we involve senior NHS clinicians or junior doctors). How the team is made up depends on the type of service we are inspecting. The inspection team may 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 care provider.

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.

The ways we do this include:

  • 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

When we inspect acute hospital trusts, specialist mental health services and community health services, we hold quality summits. These are meetings with the care provider, local partners and local Healthwatch.

These summits give the provider the opportunity to hear about the findings of the inspection and to focus on the next steps they need to take if their service needs to improve.

The inspection report

We publish our inspection reports on our website. If the care provider is an acute hospital trust, a specialist mental health service or a community health service, this happens after the quality summit has taken place.

Informing the media

We will normally inform the local, national and trade media when we:

  • Publish inspection reports where we have found ‘Outstanding’ or ‘Inadequate’ care
  • Take enforcement action
  • Prosecute
Last updated:
3 March 2015