Freedom of information and data protection

Page last updated: 25 March 2024

You have the right to ask us for the recorded information we have about any subject.

This 'right of access' includes all non-confidential information about our work and also your own personal data.

Much of our information and all our published documents are available online, our publication scheme explains what you can find.

How to ask us for information

If you make a request, try to be as specific as possible so we provide the information you want.

You can request:

Information we have provided already (disclosure logs)

Our disclosure logs on the National Archives list many requests we have answered in the past. (They exclude requests that include personal information).

You can ask us to send you any response listed in our disclosure logs. Contact the Information Access team and include the:

  • reference number (beginning CQC IAT)
  • date we responded to the request.

Information requests from providers

Where we are able, we will share additional information collected during an inspection with providers. This is to help providers understand our findings.

To request information we hold about your location/organisation, write to your inspector via our National Customer Service Centre.

In your request, tell us:

  • the specific information you want
  • why you need this information. We ask this because issues may be time sensitive (for example, requests covering factual accuracy of inspection reports)

Specific requests allow us to share information that may not be available under a Freedom of Information request.

Your request should refer to the specific issues you need information about, rather than documents. This will allow us to respond more quickly to your query.

Some examples of provider requests that we complied with are:

  • Names of people using or working in a service whose records were reviewed by us
  • Specific evidence that we relied on in the findings of our inspection report
  • Generic, non-identifiable details of concerns raised with us

Requests for wide ranging information or large numbers of documents are likely to be declined because of the time it would take us to provide the information.

You should avoid making requests that ask for:

  • All information that we hold about your service
  • All the information we collected on a particular inspection
  • All the inspection notes we made on a particular inspection

Confidential information about individuals

We collect confidential personal information relating to individuals and services we regulate. This can be in the form of:

  • Information sent to us by staff, health professionals, people using the service, patients and family members
  • Information collected from staff, people who use the service, patients and family members during an inspection visit, particularly where a provider is not already aware of the information

It is a criminal offence for us to share confidential personal information, except in specific legal circumstances (for example, to protect an individual who is at risk of harm). This would not normally be the case where a provider requests information from us.

More information about how we handle confidential personal information:

Code of practice on confidential personal information

How to ask us for information about a person who has died

Non-confidential information about a person who has died

You can ask for non-confidential information about a person who has died.

We will tell you when we receive your request - this will usually be within three working days.

We may ask you for proof of identity. Usually we ask for copies of two forms of identification - one must have a photograph or signature, and the other proof of your address.

We will also tell you how long it will take us to reply, which will depend upon the type of information you asked for.

Confidential information about a person who has died

We can only give confidential information to an authorised representative of the person who has died and we will require evidence (such as a grant of probate). It is our decision whether to provide the information or not.

Health records of a person who has died

To see the health records of a person who has died, contact the health and social care provider first.

It is very unlikely that we would hold health or social care records of person who has died. We have no legal powers to ask providers for these records except, rarely, as part of our regulatory role.

Unhappy with our answer?

If you are not satisfied you may:

Ask for an internal review

Contact us at Legal Services and Information Rights, email:

Contact the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO)

If we refuse your request, and you feel we have not complied with the law, you can ask the ICO to assess our response.

ICO contact details

Comment or complain about us

Contact us if you need to make a complaint or comment about us.