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Care Quality Commission: Twelfth Report of Session 2015–16

Report, together with formal minutes relating to the report

The Care Quality Commission has made substantial progress since the Committee last reported in 2012. But it is behind where it should be, six years after it was established, in that it is not yet an effective regulator of health and social care. Because of staff shortages it is not meeting the trajectory it set itself for completing inspections of hospitals, adult social care and primary care. There are also concerns about the consistency and accuracy of draft inspection reports, and the time the Commission takes to finalise a report after carrying out an inspection. At the same time, the Commission is not yet ready to implement new responsibilities it takes on in April 2016 to assess the efficiency with which hospitals use their resources. In addition, the Commission does not yet have the quantified performance measures, linked to explicit targets, that are needed to show whether it is satisfactorily performing its statutory duties. We will be returning to this subject to review what further progress the Commission makes in the coming year.

The Care Quality Commission (the Commission) is the independent regulator of health and adult social care in England. Its purpose is to “make sure health and social care services provide people with safe, effective, compassionate, high quality care, and to encourage them to improve”. The Commission is a non-departmental public body, sponsored by the Department of Health (the Department). The Committee of Public Accounts last took evidence from the Department and the Commission in 2012. In its report the Committee expressed serious concerns about the Commission’s governance, leadership and culture, and its failure to intervene quickly or strongly enough in failing providers of health or social care services. The Commission has since been working with the Department to implement significant changes, under a three-year transformation programme between 2013–14 and 2015–16.