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How we work with national partners: NHS trusts

  • Organisations we regulate

We work in partnership with many national organisations to share information about services and people’s experiences of them.

These closer working relationships will increase efficiency by reducing duplication and making the best use of shared information and resources. Our inspectors and inspection managers have an ongoing relationship with organisations including:

We also engage with other partner organisations, such as the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman, professional regulators such as the Nursing and Midwifery Council, the Health and Care Professions Council and the General Medical Council, and royal colleges. We will work with these bodies and gather different types of information regularly, as well as in the lead-up to an inspection.

NHS Improvement

When working together, CQC and NHS Improvement follow these principles:

  • We work together to carry out our respective functions effectively, while recognising that each organisation is legally and operationally independent.
  • Our organisations are more closely aligned so that our definitions, measurement and operations are based on a single shared view of quality.
  • We work to remove duplication between our organisations.
  • We focus on quality and show that it should, and can, be maintained and improved alongside financial sustainability.

We work together across all aspects of our regulatory/oversight model, by:

  • sharing data and aiming to use a single, shared standard of measurement, both to review performance and to decide where to target support or oversight
  • coordinating how we gather evidence to plan site visits, using information from NHS Improvement as evidence to inform our judgements on inspections and improvement activities
  • sharing information on the results of our inspections and regulation/oversight, including enforcement actions, special measures and areas of good practice
  • coordinating how we engage with individual providers as well as with wider health care systems.


The new well-led framework for healthcare providers has a strong focus on financial and resource governance, and was developed jointly by CQC and NHS Improvement. It provides a single structure to enable us to assess and review the leadership, management and governance of an organisation (including self-review).

CQC uses the well-led framework in our inspections and regulatory activity, and NHS Improvement uses it in its oversight/regulation and to support improvements in trusts. Trusts themselves are encouraged to use the framework to carry out developmental reviews as part of their efforts for continuous improvement.

When CQC inspects the well-led key question at the trust level as part of our regular inspection programme we take into account NHS Improvement’s assessment of a trust’s performance and leadership.

Before an inspection, NHS Improvement will provide information on trusts’ financial and resource governance to CQC’s inspection teams, which is drawn from its regular oversight and improvement work. Members of staff from NHS Improvement may also carry out a detailed assessment of financial and resource governance for a particular trust in a joint team with CQC inspectors, when inspecting the well-led key question at the trust-wide level. NHS Improvement will assess the risks in each trust and use the information it already holds to determine its involvement.

Use of resources

CQC and NHS Improvement recognise that effective use of resources is fundamental to enable health and care providers to deliver and sustain high-quality care for patients. We are committed to working together to assess, rate and report on NHS trusts' use of resources.

Use of resources assessments also form part of NHS Improvement’s approach to trust oversight and improvement through the Single Oversight Framework. This identifies the support that trusts need and provides good practice to help drive improvement and give patients consistently safe, high-quality, compassionate care within financially sustainable local health systems.

The use of resources framework was jointly developed with CQC. NHS Improvement started to use this to assess non-specialist acute trusts’ use of resources in October 2017. The use of resources assessment results in a rating and report, which helps patients, providers and regulators to understand how effectively trusts are using their resources to provide high-quality, efficient and sustainable care.

See the section on use of resources.

Last updated:
01 March 2018