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Enforcement: adult social care services

  • Organisations we regulate

If the care provided by a service harms people or puts people at risk of harm, we can take enforcement action to protect them.

This applies to anyone who provides regulated activities without registration, or registered persons or managers who breach conditions of registration or relevant sections of the Health and Social Care Act 2008, the Care Quality Commission (Registration) Regulations 2009 and the Health and Social Care Act 2008 (Regulated Activities) Regulations 2014.

Where we have identified concerns, we decide what action is appropriate to take. The action we take is proportionate to the seriousness of the concern, including the impact on people who use the service, and whether there are multiple and persistent breaches of the regulations.

Inspectors follow the enforcement handbook, in conjunction with the enforcement policy and decision tree, in the decision making process when considering if and/or what enforcement action is needed.

Action planning

Where people using a service are not at immediate risk of harm but the provider is not meeting a legal requirement, or struggles to do so consistently, we will use our power to require a report (action plan) from the provider. We will do this by serving a requirement notice. The report must explain the action the provider is taking or proposes to take to meet the relevant legal requirement(s). Providers should inform us in writing when they have completed the actions.

Where a service is repeatedly rated as requires improvement, we will use our power to require a report (improvement action plan) from the provider. The plan must explain what the provider will do to make the improvements needed to achieve a better overall rating.

Types of enforcement action

The type of enforcement action we can take will depend on whether we are protecting people or holding providers to account.

  • We will take civil enforcement action to protect people.
  • To hold providers to account we will take criminal enforcement action if they fail to meet prosecutable fundamental standards.

Our enforcement policy describes our approach in more detail.

Last updated:
29 June 2018