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CQC responds to Public Accounts Committee report on progress

11 December 2015
  • Media

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) has responded to the Public Account Committee’s report out today (Friday 11 December 2015) on its performance as the country’s regulator of health and adult social care.

The report acknowledges that since 2012, CQC has made “substantial progress” in strengthening the way that it monitors, inspects and regulates hospitals, care homes, general practices and other services to make sure that people get safe, high-quality and compassionate care. However, there are areas to improve, which the organisation is already proceeding with.

In particular, the timeliness of its inspection reports, CQC’s ongoing recruitment drive, how it responds to information of concern, and how CQC develops and provides reassurance about its readiness to take on its new responsibility to assess the use of resources within NHS trusts from April 2016, have been recommended as particular priorities. Improvements have been made in all of these areas.

David Behan, Chief Executive of the Care Quality Commission said: "We are pleased that the Public Accounts Committee has acknowledged the “substantial progress” that the organisation has made over the last three years and we have continued to make progress.

"We have always maintained that there is more we have to do, in particular with regards to improving the timeliness of our reports and inspecting all health and adult social care services. These are not new issues and we have been working hard to improve our performance. We have reported on our progress in public every month and we will continue to do so. What is essential is that we do not take any shortcuts, which could compromise the quality of the important work that we do.

"We have surveyed the public and they tell us they are increasingly confident in our new and more rigorous approach to inspection that provides them with better information about the quality and safety of care.

"We are not complacent and are working confidently to continue to improve what we do and how we do it. We look forward to reporting to the PAC in the summer on the progress we have made."


David commented: "We are pleased to have made progress with our recruitment efforts. We set ourselves a target to have appointed 600 inspectors by the end of this calendar year and already, we have successfully appointed 627 new inspectors – that’s six weeks’ early. Not only that, but we have appointed 96 new inspection managers and 68 new intelligence colleagues, bringing our total number of appointments in the last 14 months to 791. Work continues to fill priority vacancies and we will continue to report on our progress in public. We will never compromise the quality of our recruitment, our inspections or our judgements."

Inspection programme

David commented: "We are working hard to proceed with our comprehensive, planned inspection programme, so that we can continue to deliver robust judgements of services that the public can trust and that providers can both act on and learn from. We remain committed to responding to risk and checking that where needed, improvements have been made. Last year [2014/15], we carried out nearly 17,900 inspections – over 3,500 of these were to follow up on a previous problem or directly in response to new concerns. We will continue to monitor this position and report publicly on developments."

Timeliness of inspection reports

David commented: "We are committed to making sure the public has accurate, timely and clear information about the quality and safety of their services. We are improving in this area as more inspectors join the organisation and are trained. Last month, over two thirds (68%) of our reports published within 50 working days. We will continue to report on our performance in our public Board meetings. Importantly, the timeliness of our reports does not affect the ability of providers to improve their services. All are briefed on immediate issues and concerns, either during or immediately after our inspections. Also, we share our draft reports with providers early on as part of our factual accuracy checks – this is a process that we actively encourage them to participate in and it helps them to begin to make the required improvements."

Development of NHS ‘use of resources’ responsibility

David commented: "We will continue to work with providers, the public, our partners and staff to ensure we are ready to take on this responsibility from next April. Having outlined our initial proposals in October, we will hold a full public consultation on this in the New Year as part of our wider strategy for the next five years. Our focus is on working with the providers, the public and others to develop the right model for how we will inspect the use of resources of NHS hospitals.”

Responding to information of concern

David commented: "Acting on the views of people who use services, as well as the concerns of health and social care staff, is a key component of our regulatory approach.

"There are a number of was that we do this already, such as through our contact centre, website, social media, focused events and during our inspections. As well as that, we have a number of partnerships and agreements with bodies that represent them. We will continue to build their views into our work.

"Last year [2014/15], we received around 80,000 types of information of concern, including complaints, staff reporting poor care, and safeguarding alerts. We act on all information we receive, which can include using this to inform an inspection.

"We carried out nearly 17,900 inspections last year [2014/15] – over 3,500 of these were to follow up on a previous problem or directly in response to new concerns."


For media enquiries about the Care Quality Commission, please call the press office on 020 7448 9401 during office hours.

Also, follow the team on Twitter for the latest national announcements: @CQCPressOffice.

Journalists wishing to speak to the press office outside of office hours can find out how to contact the team here.

(Please note: the duty press officer is unable to advise members of the public on health or social care matters).

For general enquiries, please call 03000 61 61 61.

Last updated:
29 May 2017

Notes to editors

  1. For further information about the Public Account Committee’s report on the Care Quality Commission, please visit the following page from 00.01 Wednesday 22 July 2015:
  2. Over the last three years, CQC has improved how it monitors, inspects and regulates health and adult social care in England and it completely changed its leadership team. This has included a new chief executive and appointing chief inspectors of adult social care (Andrea Sutcliffe), of general practice (Prof Steve Field), and of hospitals (Prof Sir Mike Richards), who are leading specialist and expert teams for their sectors.
  3. Inspections and other actions are based on what matters most to people who use services – whether they are safe, caring, effective, responsive to their needs, and well-led. For most services, these then lead to ratings of Outstanding, Good, Requires Improvement, and Inadequate to help people make informed choices about their care and to highlight where improvements need to be made.
  4. CQC introduced its regulatory changes as part of its strategy for 2013-16, Raising standards; putting people first, of which CQC is in its final year. In October this year, CQC published a discussion paper that sets out some of the choices it faces in responding to changes to how health and social care is delivered, ahead of a full public consultation in the New Year on its strategy for regulation for 2016-21. Further information about CQC’s plans to develop the regulation of health and adult social care in England.

About the Care Quality Commission

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) is the independent regulator of health and social care in England.

We make sure health and social care services provide people with safe, effective, compassionate, high-quality care and we encourage care services to improve.

We monitor, inspect and regulate services to make sure they meet fundamental standards of quality and safety and we publish what we find to help people choose care.