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External reports and research

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We publish research and reports about us that have been commissioned.

September 2020 reports

Three pieces of research have been carried out to look into areas where CQC’s regulation has contributed to improving the quality of health and care services, and where we can improve it. We are using the findings from this research to inform our Strategy for 2021 and beyond.

CQC’s impact on the quality of care: An assessment of CQC’s contribution by the Alliance Manchester Business Schools at the University of Manchester

This is an in-depth assessment of the relationship between CQC’s regulatory approach and improvement in the quality of health and social care. This was to support our understanding of how we are delivering against our purpose, so we can identify areas where we can improve our approach.

We are using a number of the findings to inform our strategy and approach from 2021. For example, open and honest relationships between CQC inspectors and people who work for a care provider can contribute to better quality care, particularly if CQC involves partner organisations to help providers improve. The study also found that CQC can contribute to improvement by producing accessible and up to date guidance products for care providers.

This is the main report. You can request additional findings by emailing

Rapid Literature Review on Effective Regulation: Implications for the Care Quality Commission

To base our Strategy for 2021 and beyond on the best evidence about what works in regulation, we looked at external evidence, working with an academic advisor at the University of Manchester. We carried out a rapid review of the literature on effective regulation, including in other countries and sectors. This identified key learning to inform our strategy, including:

  • taking a flexible approach to regulation and adapting it to the circumstances of different providers
  • building ongoing relationships with the providers we regulate
  • working with other parts of the system to achieve improvements in quality
  • meaningfully involving people who use services in our regulation
  • ensuring relevant regulation by keeping pace with the digitalisation, technology, and innovations in the system

Evaluation of the healthcare services well-led framework

The NHS National Improvement and Leadership Development Board commissioned Alliance Manchester Business School at the University of Manchester, in association with Deloitte, to evaluate the well-led framework for healthcare services. The evaluation showed that:

  • the framework enables leaders to change leadership practices that have an impact on the quality of care
  • the framework needs to focus on both governance and processes and culture and leadership, including a greater focus on diversity and engaging people who use services
  • regulators need to look at both leadership in individual organisations as well as how they operate across the broader system
  • regulatory and oversight bodies need to ensure providers get support to improve.

Aligned to the findings from the evaluation of the Well Led Framework, the NHS people plan for 2020/21 has emphasised the need for compassionate, distributed and inclusive leadership, and a culture that encourages and celebrates diversity. We have carried out provider collaboration reviews to look at how health and social care providers are working together in local areas and we will be engaging with leaders with NHS trusts about the further development of the Well Led framework.

Earlier reports


Display of ratings testing (February 2015)

These reports set out the findings of research we commissioned to provide us with an understanding of what the public and people who use services thought of our proposed materials for providers to display their ratings, both across their premises and online. The research contributed to our consultation on our draft guidance and gave us important insight into the best way to require providers to display their ratings (where and how) so that they are clear and valuable to the public.

Sandwich generation survey (August 2014)

This report summarises the results of a survey of 259 users of the Mumsnet and Gransnet websites in England, who have or care for at least one child aged under 17.

Read our news story and case studies.

Fear of raising concerns (April 2013)

This report by the ICM Government & Social Research team presents findings from a survey of the public designed to establish as fully as possible people’s willingness to report concerns about the standard of care.

Adult social care survey feasibility study (April 2013)

This study looked at the feasibility of developing a new survey of people who use adult social care services. It was carried out by The King's Fund and Picker Institute.

International mental health legislation (October 2012)

This research from Bristol University informed our plans for monitoring the use of the Mental Health Act and fulfilling our responsibilities under the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture (OPCAT).

Reports about us

Getting it right for children and young people (March 2014)

This report by Dr Sheila Shribman, the former National Clinical Director for Children, Young People and Maternity Services, looks at our new approach to inspection.

Exploring bullying and harassment in CQC (June 2013)

This report is from a review of bullying and harassment in our organisation carried out by People Opportunities Limited at the request of our chief executive David Behan.

Last updated:
26 November 2020