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The Care Quality Commission checks whether hospitals, care homes and care services are meeting government standards. Visit our website at www.cqc.org.uk.

Controlled drugs accountable officers

Who can be an accountable officer

To be eligible to carry out the role of accountable officer, a person must be a senior manager of their organisation. They should not routinely supply or handle controlled drugs themselves as part of their duties as an employee or officer.

For full details of the accountable officer's role and responsibilities, see: Part 2 of The Controlled Drugs (Supervision of Management and Use) Regulations 2013 (SI (2013/373)) (opens in new window).

Organisations that must appoint an accountable officer

The following types of organisations are designated bodies under the regulations governing the management of controlled drugs. They must therefore appoint an accountable officer and register their officer's details with us.

  • NHS trusts.
  • Independent hospitals in England (as defined in part one of the Controlled Drugs [Supervision of management and use] Regulations 2013).
  • The NHS Commissioning Board Local Area Teams.
  • The headquarters in England of regular or reserved Armed Forces.

Where a group of designated bodies of the same type jointly nominate and appoint an accountable officer, we require a notification for each of the designated bodies within the group.

Exceptions to the requirement to appoint an Accountable Officer

Exemptions apply if:

  • fewer than 10 individuals work at the hospital.
  • the need to appoint an Accountable Officer would give rise to difficulties disproportionate to the benefits of such an appointment.

Organisations that do not need to appoint an accountable officer

Social enterprise organisations (SEOs) and Community Interest Companies (CICs) are not required to appoint a CDAO if their activities do not come within the definition of a "hospital" as defined in Regulation 2; however, they can consider appointing a lead to ensure controlled drug governance arrangements are in place within their organisation.