CQC inspections in England are based upon a five “key-question” test, asking if a service is:

  • safe

  • effective

  • caring

  • responsive

  • well-led.

In addition, in order to achieve and maintain their registration with the CQC, providers must comply with:

  • the Health and Social Care Act 2008 (Regulated Activities) Regulations 2014

  • the Health and Social Care Act 2008 Care Quality Commission (Registration) Regulations 2009

The 2014 Regulated Activities Regulations replaced the preceding 2010 regulations and include Fundamental Standards, below which care is not allowed to fall.

Inspections focus on the views and experiences of the people who use services in terms of whether they are receiving safe, effective, person-centred care. Inspectors check that services achieve all of the fundamental standards and take the appropriate actions if they find any one has not been achieved. The 2014 regulations describe the enforcement powers available to the CQC to obtain improvements and to ensure compliance.

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