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The CQC is the independent regulator of health and adult social care services in England.

Its purpose is to make sure health and social care services provide people with safe, effective, compassionate, high-quality care, and it encourages care services to improve. Its role is to monitor, inspect and regulate services to make sure they meet fundamental standards of quality and safety and it publish what it finds, including performance ratings to help people choose care. From September 2013 it will start to regulate different services in different ways, based on what matters to people. It will make better use of tailored information and expert inspection to assess health and social care services. Its new Chief Inspectors of Hospitals, Social Care and General Practice will improve the way all the services it regulate are assessed and judged to make sure they provide people with safe, effective, compassionate, high-quality care and it encourage them to make improvements.

  • It sets quality and safety standards that people have a right to expect whenever they receive care.
  • It registers care services that meet its standards.
  • It monitors, inspects and regulates care services to make sure they continue to meet its standards.
  • It protects the rights of vulnerable people, including those whose rights are restricted under the Mental Health Act.
  • It listens to and act on people’s views and experiences of care.
  • It involves people who receive care and the general public in its work, and work in partnership with other organisations and local groups.
  • It challenges all care providers, concentrating mainly on the worst performers.
  • It makes fair and authoritative judgements, supported by the best information and evidence.
  • It takes appropriate action if care services are failing to meet its standards.
  • It carries out in-depth investigations to look at care across the system.
  • It reports on the quality of care services, publishing clear and comprehensive information, including performance ratings to help people choose care.


Enforcing standards

If it finds that a service isn’t meeting its standards, it take action to make sure it improves. It has a range of powers that it can use. It can instruct care managers to produce a plan of action to make improvements or it can do the following:

  • Issue a warning notice, asking for improvements within a short period of time.
  • Restrict the services that the care provider can offer.
  • Restrict admissions to the service.
  • Issue a fixed penalty notice.
  • Suspend the care provider’s registration.
  • Cancel the care provider’s registration.
  • Prosecute the care provider.

It works with local authorities, other regulators and agencies, and sometimes the police, to make sure the necessary action is taken.


Monitoring the Mental Health Act

It protect the rights and interests of people who are detained under the Mental Health Act. Its Mental Health Act Commissioners make sure that the powers under the Mental Health Act are used properly. They check that people are being lawfully detained and are well cared for. The commissioners visit patients detained in hospital and meet them in private to find out about their experience of care. They also meet patients who are on a community treatment order.


Involving people in its work

It involves people who use services to help it plan, monitor and evaluate its work. It involves people in different ways depending on their circumstances, but it always put people who use services at the centre of its work. As well as involving individuals, it actively involves local community groups and voluntary organisations. It also shares information and concerns about local health and social care services with local government and health organisations. To read more about how it involves the public, people who use services, their families and carers, visit the website at and see its booklet ‘Putting People First’. Tell them about your experience of care You have a right to expect safe, compassionate, high-quality care. If you have experienced poor care, or you know that poor care is being provided somewhere, you should report it, anonymously if you wish, to them. You can also tell them about good care. Your feedback is important as it helps them decide where, when and what to inspect. To tell them about your experience of care use the ‘Tell Us About Your Care’ form on the CQC website at, phone them on 03000 616161 or email them at [email protected].



It does not settle individual complaints about health and social care services but there are other organisations who do. By law, every provider of care services must have an efficient procedure for dealing with complaints. If you are not happy with the way the managers of a care service have dealt with your complaint there are a number things you can do. If your complaint relates to a service provided by the NHS, you can contact the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman at If your complaint is about a service provided by a care home or home care agency, you can contact the Local Government Ombudsman at To find out more, visit the website at and see its booklet ‘How to complain about a health or social care service’.


Working in partnership

Nationally and locally it works with other regulators and organisations that manage and oversee the health and social care system. It works with Monitor, NHS England and the NHS Trust Development Authority to develop a clear programme for action if an NHS trust fails to meet the fundamental standards of quality and safety. It works with Healthwatch England to make sure that it are responding appropriately to information it receive, and that it do not miss opportunities to identify poor care or shed light on failings that affect people using health and social care services. It talks regularly to charities, representative groups and voluntary organisations, and listen to the issues that most concern them. It continues to develop its relationships with local authorities, clinical commissioning groups, local Healthwatch groups, overview and scrutiny committees, foundation trusts’ councils of governors, quality surveillance groups, and health and wellbeing boards.


Keeping people informed

It publish all of its inspection reports on its website, so you can find out what it think of any hospital, dentist, care home, GP surgery or home-care agency. It publishes information about whether or not the services it regulates are providing safe, effective, compassionate and high quality care. If its inspectors have asked services to make improvements, it update its website to let people know if the necessary action has been taken.

How to contact them