Recommendation 18

Involving professional bodies in designing compliance measures

It is essential that professional bodies in which doctors and nurses have confidence are fully involved in the formulation and in the means of measuring compliance.

The Care Quality Commission is taking steps to ensure that stakeholders, particularly including professional bodies, are fully involved in designing and developing its new approach to inspection. The Care Quality Commission’s new approach to inspecting hospitals involves large teams of specialists as well as patient experts. The Care Quality Commission is working with medical and nursing Royal Colleges to resource the inspection teams. These teams give professionals a key role in how a hospital’s quality of care is assessed.

The Care Quality Commission has consulted extensively on its new approach to inspection. The consultation engaged 5,154 individuals and 4,500 organisations, plus 41 consultation events. Professional bodies, and individual professionals, have been prominent contributors to these. On 17 October 2013, the Care Quality Commission published the responses to the consultation in A new start: Responses to our consultation on changes to the way CQC regulates, inspects and monitors care services, which showed that there is broad agreement with the new approach.

The Care Quality Commission is undertaking further work to deepen the engagement of professional bodies in developing its new approach, and in particular medical, nursing and midwifery royal colleges. Memoranda of understanding are in development with all of these bodies, covering collaboration in:

  • resourcing inspection teams
  • developing standards and expectations of ‘what good looks like’ in different services
  • and recognising accreditation schemes where that can encourage achievement of best practice standards and avoid duplicated inspection


All of the Care Quality Commission’s new style inspections involve healthcare professionals as part of the inspection teams, according to their areas of specialism and training and depending on the service being inspected. In addition to this many of the Care Quality Commission’s inspectors themselves come from specialist health backgrounds and are working in the sector in which they trained. For example, the Care Quality Commission inspectors who are clinical scientists and radiographers by training inspect radiology facilities and departments, both as individual inspections and as part of broader hospital inspections, providing specialist insight. The Care Quality Commission’s Chief Inspectors of Hospitals, Adult Social Care and General Practice themselves have significant experience and expertise in their sectors, as well as a number of their Deputy Chief Inspectors.

The Care Quality Commission has been working with healthcare professionals including the Royal Colleges and their faculties, as well as providers, the public and other stakeholders throughout the development of its new regulatory approach. This has included:

  • Engagement in the development of the Care Quality Commission’s new approach to monitoring, inspecting and rating services and guidance on new regulations and enforcement powers
  • Identification of healthcare professionals to participate in the Care Quality Commission’s inspections
  • Support for the Care Quality Commission’s work on the use of clinical service accreditation schemes
  • Commitment to working together through the development of memoranda of understanding, joint working statements and information sharing agreements

Joint agreements

The Care Quality Commission works with strategic partner organisations including healthcare professional bodies in the development and delivery of its regulatory activity. These partnerships are underpinned by the development of joint agreements which set out:

  • clear expectations and objectives for the relationships
  • a framework for information exchange and operational working
  • clear evaluation criteria
  • a public signal of intent to work together