The Care Quality Commission (CQC) is the independent regulator of health and adult social care in England, whether it's provided by the NHS, local authorities, private companies or voluntary organisations.

CQC ensures health and social care services provide people with safe, effective, compassionate, high-quality care and they encourage care services to improve. They monitor, inspect and regulate services to make sure fundamental standards of quality and safety are met and they publish what is found, including performance ratings to help people choose care.

Under existing rules, independent healthcare and adult social services must be registered with the CQC. NHS providers, such as hospitals and ambulance services, must also be registered. The registration of organisations reassures the public when they receive a care service or treatment. It also enables the CQC to check that organisations are continuing to meet CQC standards.

Standards for care homes are outlined on the CQC website. These standards are underpinned by regulations governing the quality and safety of services. The regulations are enforceable by law - the CQC can enforce fines, public warnings, or even suspend or close a service if they believe people's basic rights or safety are at risk.

CQC works in the following ways:

  • Making sure services meet fundamental standards that people have a right to expect whenever they receive care.
  • Registering care services that meet CQC standards.
  • Monitoring, inspecting and regulating care services to make sure that they continue to meet the standards.
  • Protecting the rights of vulnerable people, including those whose rights are restricted under the Mental Health Act.
  • Listening to and acting on your experiences.
  • Involving the public and people who receive care and working in partnership with other organisations and local groups.
  • Challenging all providers, with the worst performers getting the most attention.
  • Making fair and authoritative judgements, supported by the best information and evidence

Taking appropriate action if care services are failing to meet fundamental standards of quality and safety.

  • Carrying out in-depth investigations to look at care across the system.
  • Reporting on the quality of care services, publishing clear and comprehensive information, including performance ratings to help people choose care.