Press release

Focus on Enforcement review leads to more effective regulation of care homes

Government welcomes commitments from the Care Quality Commission to improve regulatory enforcement in partnership with the adult care sector.

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government


The government today (21 May 2014) welcomed commitments from the Care Quality Commission (CQC) to improve regulatory enforcement, in partnership with the adult care sector.

Issuing their full response to the government’s Focus on Enforcement review of the sector – which raised industry concerns about bureaucratic burdens – CQC and the Department of Health have committed to:

  • improve the co-ordination of inspection and monitoring visits, reducing unnecessary duplication, whilst still ensuring homes are delivering the required standard of care
  • minimise wasteful inconsistency for providers that deal with multiple local authorities. New commissioning standards will help local authorities manage the commissioning of care places
  • provide clearer grading of performance; greater recognition for better homes; and more incentive for poorer providers to improve through a new ratings system for the standard of care in homes
  • ensure that providers are inspected by individuals who understand how the sector works, by increasing the number of specialist inspectors and strengthening the training arrangements
  • support more consistent decision making for providers – by introducing a revised quality assessment framework that will enable inspectors to use their expert judgement within a structured system
  • look at ways to help providers better manage their own performance and compliance in line with the requirements of the regulatory system – examining the scope to build independent accreditation into the regulation of the sector

The Focus on Enforcement review identified concerns within the adult care sector about the effectiveness of regulatory enforcement. This included concerns among providers about duplication of monitoring activities carried out by the CQC in its capacity as the regulator, and local authorities which are responsible for managing contracts for the places they commission on behalf of care patients. The sector raised concerns about unnecessary burdens – arising from the way in which some monitoring activity was conducted – which they felt took resources in care homes away from the core role of caring for residents.

The Focus on Enforcement review was considered alongside CQC’s own consultation underpinning their new strategy: Raising Standards, Putting People First. The findings of the Focus on Enforcement review were welcomed by the CQC and the Department of Health as identifying impacts of the regulatory model and of regulatory practices on providers - and on CQC’s ability to assess and report on the quality of care people receive.

CQC will continue to work with the adult care sector to develop and test a new approach to regulating adult social care that is effective in protecting the best interests of patients without placing unnecessary burdens on providers.

Notes to editors

  1. Focus on Enforcement reviews examine how regulation is delivered – whether through inspections, advice, or enforcement – rather than focusing on the design of the regulations themselves. For more information, including previous reviews and what they have achieved, visit Focus on Enforcment

  2. The Care Homes review gathered evidence from November 2012 to February 2013

  3. On 10 March 2014 Business Minister Michael Fallon invited industry bodies to bid to help run a Business Focus on Enforcement Review - a new phase of the programme. This will allow industry groups such as trade associations to lead reviews into regulatory enforcement in their sectors and present the case for change directly to regulators and Ministers. For more information about the process and to access more information, visit Business Focus on Enforcement.

  4. Government action to reduce and reform regulations themselves – including through the Red Tape Challenge and the One-in, Two-out rule, is saving businesses over £1.2 billion annually.

Published 21 May 2014