3 min read/Published On: July 22, 2022/553 words/

CQC Inspection: Types of Inspections & What to Expect

What to expect from a CQC Inspection

The Care Quality Commission (or CQC) is England’s independent regulator of Health and Social Care. Visiting services is a vital part of the inspection process, it allows the CQC to assess care providers’ core services. Social Care services are evaluated across five domains; Safe, Effective, Caring, Responsive, and Well-Led.

NHS Trusts are also inspected by the CQC, although their inspection process is slightly different as they are assessed on eight core services.

Types of CQC inspection

The CQC carry out regular inspections of care and health services. The frequency of Care Quality Commission inspections and the size of the investigation team depend on the type of service in question.

There are two main types of CQC inspection:

  • Comprehensive inspections
  • Focused inspections – these are slightly different to comprehensive inspections. Focused CQC Inspections are completed on a much smaller scale. However, these inspections still follow a similar process to comprehensive inspections.

Focused inspections are usually carried out to take a closer look at any concerns raised during a comprehensive inspection or if a care provider’s circumstances have changed.

CQC Inspection

What to expect from a CQC inspection

The start of the inspection

At the start of a CQC inspection, the inspector or inspection team will cross examine the senior leadership. They will explain the purpose of the inspection and tell them how they will communicate the findings.

The CQC inspection methodology

The CQC inspection methodology comprises six elements:

  • Planning
  • Gathering feedback
  • Talking to people
  • Observation
  • Talking to staff
  • Reviewing records

To structure the inspection, the CQC use key lines of enquiry and information from the planning phase.

To gather evidence, the Care Quality Commission use several inspection methods, including talking to service users, their families, and staff, observing care, and reviewing records and inspections of the premises.

Aim of a CQC inspection

The aim of inspections is to determine the answer to five key questions:

  1. Is the provider safe?

    Are service users safe and protected from harm or abuse? This will determine the trust level that care receivers have with a provider.

  2. Is the provider effective?

    The inspector will examine if the the care and support services achieve positive outcomes. The CQC will look at the quality of life of service users, and if their mental health and overall well-being have improved. Ultimately, they will determine if the service users receive partial or no support to downgrade the overall rating.

  3. Is the provider’s workforce caring?

    Service users are treated with dignity, respect, kindness, and compassion.

  4. Is the service responsive to people’s needs?

    CQC inspections will evaluate a care provider’s ability to respond to the individual needs of those who access the service.

  5. Is the organisation well-led?

    Well-led providers ensure high-quality care is delivered, they encourage staff to learn and develop their skills and knowledge and promote an open and fair culture.

How can Grey Matter Learning help?

Grey Matter Learning’s, eLearning system ‘Click’ provides users with access to over 115 social care courses and certificates. Our curriculum covers a wide range of training topics that up-skill and empower care staff to provide an outstanding and effective level of care. We are here to support Registered Managers and organisations to achieve an outstanding rating during CQC inspections.

You can access our whole range of CQC training courses.

Alternatively, discover more in our Care Quality Commission learning hub.


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