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Public payments policy

  • Public

We need the eyes and ears of everyone using health and social care to help us understand the quality of care.

To help us do this, we need lots of people using these services to tell us about their experiences of care and how CQC can respond to meet people’s needs. In some circumstances, we can pay members of the public who we involve in our work.

Who we pay

We can make payments to members of the public (including people who use services, their carers’ and children and young people) who are invited to help us with particular projects.

Who we do not pay

People can help us in ways that do not qualify for payment. These include:

  • People who choose to answer questions through simple surveys
  • Members of the public who tell us about their experience of services (like their care home or GP)
  • People or charities who choose to help us in meetings and activities because they have a personal or professional interest in a subject.

What we pay members of the public

There are two types of payment for members of the public that we invite to work with us:


This is money paid back to the person because they have spent it getting to the meeting or activity. This is mainly travel costs but may also include hotel and food costs.

Expenses must be agreed beforehand with the activity organiser, but here are some of the things we can cover:

  • Reasonable public transport costs, mileage, parking, toll costs and congestion charge reimbursed.
  • Replacement carer/personal assistant - reasonable costs for carers should be agreed with someone from the Public Engagement team beforehand.
  • Support worker/personal facilitator - reasonable costs for carers should be agreed with someone from the Public Engagement team beforehand.
  • Breakfast receipted up to £5 (paid where a person leaves home earlier than usual and before 7am and incurs a cost on breakfast taken away from their home)
  • Hotel – in London (inside the M25) includes accommodation and breakfast up to £145 bed and breakfast (hotel outside of London, up to £95). Dinner in the hotel up to £27.50 (the cost of alcoholic beverages cannot be claimed).

Involvement fee

This is a payment to reward people for their time and skills, or because they are experts.

Involvement fees range between:

  • Leading - £180 per day for people who take a very big part in our work, like leading a project or making decisions independently
    • For example, a young person designing the cover of our independent voice reports, such as the RSS thematic review.
  • Deciding together - £150 per day for people who take a big part in our work, like giving training, taking on additional responsibility and contributing to decision making.
    • For example, such as co-chairing one of our coproduction meetings.
  • Working together - £126 per day for people who take part in our work within a fixed role and responsibility.
    • For example, like giving their views at a co-production meeting or taking part in an interview

We pay some young people in gift vouchers because HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) rules do not apply to people under 16. Also, while we greatly value the contribution of young people who take part in our work, they don’t have the same financial commitments as adults:

  • Under 16s are paid £10 per hour in vouchers.
  • 16 to 17 year olds are paid £80 per day in vouchers.

What we pay people who work for charities

The amount we pay depends on the size of the charity.

For large charities (with an income of £100,000 or over, according to the Charity Commission), we pay expenses to people who take a very big part in our work by leading or decision-making (examples above).

For small charities (with an income of under £100,000), we pay expenses and an involvement fee for people who take a very big part in our work by leading or decision-making (examples above).

We pay expenses for people who take part by working together (examples above).

More information

Tax and benefits

Depending on how much you earn, you may need to pay tax on payments. It is your responsibility to make sure you are paying the right amount of tax.

If you receive benefits, we recommend that you speak to your Job Centre plus, Citizen’s Advice or someone else you trust before accepting any payment.

It is up to you (not CQC) to work out whether payments may affect your benefits.


If you will be asking for travel expenses, you should ask us to arrange your tickets before you travel. This is so we can use our booking service, which can be cheaper.

It also means we can find out if you have any needs that can be met with a ‘reasonable adjustment’, like getting a taxi from the station to a meeting.


We do not normally pay for people to stay in hotels or other accommodation.

We will plan meetings and other activities so that people do not have to leave their house before 6am or arrive home after 8pm.

We will only pay for accommodation as a ‘reasonable adjustment’, such as if you have a disability that means you cannot travel for too long in one day.

This must be agreed before each activity so we can use our accommodation booking service.


We do not normally pay for people’s meals.

However, we will pay you back for the cost of breakfast or an evening meal if you have to leave home before 6am or arrive home after 8pm.

Other support for reasonable adjustments

Costs to cover other reasonable adjustments should be agreed with us before each activity.

These can include payments to cover:

  • A carer for children, or a sick or disabled partner, relative or friend
  • support that the person themselves needs, like a personal assistant or support worker, or interpreter.

How people are paid

People who are paid only once a year (between April and March) are given a one-off payment into their bank accounts. This usually takes between 10 and 15 days.

People who are paid more than once a year need to be paid through a different process because they will be put on our payroll system. The activity organiser will ask for the person’s bank details and P46 form to set them up on our system. They will be given a payroll number and if payment is due, paid once a fortnight.

Getting in touch with us

For any other questions about payment, or to book travel, accommodation or any reasonable adjustments, talk to the person who has invited you to take part. Or email:

Last updated:
27 July 2021