You are here

CQC sets out plans to call time on Inadequate adult social care

17 December 2014
  • Media

Adult social care services in England that fail to improve within a year of being rated as Inadequate overall will face closure as part of plans to tackle failing care shared at today's (Wednesday 17 December) Care Quality Commission (CQC) Public Board Meeting.

Today's update follows the announcement from the Secretary of State for Health in July asking CQC to develop a special measures regime for adult social care in England.

Since then, CQC has been developing what this could look like with people using services and their carers, providers and their representatives, commissioners, our staff and national partners.

CQC is now seeking further views from anyone who wishes to have their say on the latest special measures proposals before the final policy is published in March 2015.

Chief Inspector of Adult Social Care at the Care Quality Commission, Andrea Sutcliffe, said:

"A critical part of our role as the regulator is to hold providers of adult social care to account and ensure they are providing the standards of safe, caring, effective, responsive and well-led care that are good enough for my mum or anyone else’s loved one.

"Since the launch of CQC’s new ratings system in October, our reports are showing many adult social care services are providing Good care.

"However, where we identify services to be delivering Inadequate care, we know the effect on people’s lives can be awful.

"Today's proposals set out our thinking about when a provider is placed into special measures and the timescale they will have to improve.

"Above all, I want to help the adult social sector improve so that people can get the high-quality care they expect and deserve. But if providers do not or cannot improve, then we will take action that will lead to closure.

"We are now in the final stages of developing the special measures policy and I would like to thank everyone who has been involved so far and encourage anyone who has an interest to share their views with us."

Care and Support Minister Norman Lamb said:

"Whilst it is never an easy decision to close down a care home that must not be an excuse for allowing poor care to continue. It is right that where providers are not able to make improvements CQC takes action to protect vulnerable people from harm."

More information about the special measures proposals for adult social care and access to the web feedback form is available here:

The web form will remain open until Friday 30 January 2015.

Twitter: @CareQualityComm #specialmeasures

For media enquiries, call the CQC press office on 020 7448 9401 during office hours or out of hours on 07917 232 143. For general enquiries, call 03000 61 61 61.


Last updated:
30 May 2017

Notes to editors


As of Wednesday 17th December, CQC has published rated reports for 157 care homes and home care services:

Outstanding -  0
Good - 112
Requires Improvement - 36
Inadequate - 9

The ratings regime allows CQC to provide a clear diagnosis of any problems there are by inspecting services and judging against 5 key questions: Whether they are safe, caring, effective, responsive to people’s needs and well-led.

How special measures could work for adult social care

  • If an adult social care service is rated as Inadequate overall from April, it will be placed into special measures immediately.
  • If an adult social care service is rated as Inadequate in one, and only one, of the five key questions, it will not be placed into special measures immediately but CQC will re-inspect within six months to check that sufficient improvements have been made in that area. If this has not happened, then the service will be placed into special measures at that point.
  • When an adult social care service is placed into special measures, it will then receive a follow-up inspection within six months to check whether improvements have been made.
    • If this has happened (i.e. if their overall rating or key question rating changes to Requires Improvement or better), then they will be taken out of special measures.
    • If this has not happened (i.e. they are still Inadequate overall or in that ‘key question’), then CQC will begin cancellation proceedings.
  • Within six months of this, the service will receive a final inspection. If improvements still have not been made then CQC will complete the cancellation proceedings (i.e. issue a notice of decision to cancel the registration of the service).
  • CQC will share their judgments and will be able to highlight good or outstanding services so that struggling services can learn from the best and improve.
  • CQC will work with the sector, including providers and their representatives, commissioners, the Department of Health and other national partners like the Social Care Institute for Excellence, Skills for Care and the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services to signpost resources that can help with that improvement.
  • CQC's special measures regime will work in conjunction with the enforcement powers the regulator already has to force change if needed. For example, where an adult social care service receives an overall inadequate rating but more immediate action is needed because people are at significant risk, CQC can use urgent enforcement powers to cancel registration.
  • A special measures regime already exists for NHS trusts in England, in which the Chief Inspector of Hospitals makes a recommendation for NHS providers to be placed into the system following an inspection, with improvement support led by Monitor or the NHS Trust Development Authority. In August, CQC reported on the improvements that these NHS trusts had made. For further information, please visit:
  • CQC is also developing a special measures regime for primary medical services in England, following its announcement in August. For further information, please visit:

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.