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Mental health law briefing 183 – Preparing for CQC inspections

CQC have recently issued guidance on their approach to inspections. These are usually unannounced and can take place at any time including evenings and weekends. CQC will only notify in advance if there is a good reason to do so.

CQC state that they intend to inspect adult social care, hospitals and domiciliary care providers once a year. Inspections can be either responsive, themed or scheduled. They will usual focus on one Essential Standard from each of the five key chapter headings in the CQC publication “Guidance about Compliance”.

Before undertaking an inspection, CQC will review the information that they hold about a service including notifications, complaints, adult safeguarding alerts and contract monitoring reports. This will be used to inform which Essential Standards to inspect.

On arrival, the CQC inspection team will identify themselves and ask to speak to the registered person or nominated individual. If they are not available, then CQC will wish to speak to the senior person present. They will explain the nature of the inspection and which Essential Standards they are considering. They will request a room to work in and undertake interviews.

During the inspection, the inspectors will observe care, talk to residents, staff and relatives and review records. They will not usually look at policies unless these are necessary to verify what they are being told.

In preparation for inspections, staff should be warned what to expect and how CQC will wish to undertake their inspection. It will clearly be important that records and filing are up to date. A contents page for all files and clear labelling will obviously assist in records being found speedily.

At the end of the inspection, CQC will provide feedback. If more information is required, they will request this, usually on the basis that it is to be provided to CQC within 48 hours. It is often worth checking at the end of the inspection that CQC have everything that they need.

Following the inspection a draft Report will be sent to the provider to enable factual accuracy issues to be corrected within 10 days. If there are other issues, it is worth raising these with CQC.

If the inspection reveals non compliance, CQC and enforcement action may follow. This will be covered in a subsequent briefing.

Andrew Parsons
t: 020 7227 7282


This briefing is for guidance purposes only. RadcliffesLeBrasseur LLP accepts no responsibility or liability whatsoever for any action taken or not taken in relation to this note and recommends that appropriate legal advice be taken having regard to a client's own particular circumstances.

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