NICE and CQC release updated joint working agreement

Published: 20 May 2021 Page last updated: 12 May 2022

CQC and The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) have today published an updated Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) agreement

The MoU sets out the framework to support the working relationship and nature of the joint working between CQC and NICE, to safeguard the wellbeing of the public receiving health and social care in England.

The agreement describes how both organisations will work together, in a coordinated way, to inform and accelerate improvement in the quality and safety of care. It covers the guidance, advice and other products that NICE provides for the health and care system and the support CQC provides for the development and implementation of NICE guidance, quality standards and indicators.

It also covers the support NICE provides to CQC for it to fulfil its role in the regulation of health and social care services and the circumstances in which CQC and NICE will engage and cooperate when carrying out their respective functions.

CQC and NICE intend that their working relationship will be characterised by the following principles:

  • able to make decisions which promote the delivery of safe and high- quality care
  • mutually supportive, respecting the statutory status and independence of both organisations
  • valued at the highest levels of both organisations, with visible leadership, clear lines of accountability, and a coherent corporate approach
  • open and transparent, with both organisations sharing information, where legally able to do so, to inform good decision making and to minimise risk
  • efficient, with business processes designed to deliver outputs quickly, facilitate rapid communication between both organisations and to enable a collaborative approach to change and develop
  • one that maintains public confidence in the two organisations.

NICE and CQC will also consider any new areas of work and the resources available to take them forward. Key areas that will form part of these additional joint priorities might include:

  • data and information (including artificial intelligence and digital health technologies)
  • patient safety
  • evolving models of care
  • environmental sustainability - CQC and NICE will identify opportunities for potential collaboration on matters relating to environmental sustainability (ES)
  • health inequalities – CQC and NICE will identify opportunities for potential collaboration on matters relating to health inequalities (HI).

The MoU will be updated in a year to reflect the revised joint priorities emerging from CQC and NICE’s new strategies.

It should be noted this MoU does not override the statutory duties, responsibilities, functions and reporting rights of CQC and NICE and is not enforceable in law. This MoU does not place extra legal responsibilities on either organisation. However, CQC and NICE are committed to working in ways that are consistent with the principles of this MoU.

The agreement will be regularly reviewed to make sure it is relevant, up to date and effective.