CQC logoThe Care Quality Commission (CQC) has set out its criteria for inspecting adult social care across each of the key areas it will routinely inspect services against.

From October, CQC will roll out its new approach to regulating adult social care in England. Specialist teams, including trained members of the public – experts by experience – will inspect services against what matters most to the people who use them: are they safe, caring, effective, responsive to their needs, and well-led.

CQC will then rate services as outstanding, good, requires improvement and inadequate so that the public has clear information to help them make choices about their care. By March 2016, the CQC expects to have given every service a rating.

Following its public consultation and testing earlier this year, CQC has published the questions, called ‘key lines of enquiry’, that its inspection teams will use to guide them on their visits, as well as descriptions of what care would look like for each of these ratings.

The guidance will be used by CQC’s inspection teams when they inspect care homes and community services to help them be consistent when making their judgements. For care providers, it can help them to understand the sorts of things that CQC’s inspection teams will be focusing on and help to know what CQC will be looking for when awarding its ratings.

Andrea Sutcliffe, CQC’s chief inspector of adult social care, said: "The key lines of enquiry and ratings characteristics are an important part of our new approach to inspecting and rating adult social care in England, which we will roll out formally from next month.

"They will allow our inspectors to really get under the skin of adult social care services across England so that providers know what we are expecting and families and how we will consistently rate their services.

"The key lines of enquiry and ratings characteristics have been developed after extensive engagement, testing and consultation with people who use services, carers, providers, commissioners and national partners. I am very grateful to everyone who has been involved in helping to shape and design the questions we will ask and the characteristics of the ratings.I am sure that this will mean people can be confident in the judgements our inspections will make."