Auditors call for further improvements at CQC

22 Jul 15

The Care Quality Commission has tackled many of the weaknesses that sparked serious criticisms of the organisation, the National Audit Office has stated, but it still needs to do more to demonstrate its effectiveness.

In a report published today, the spending watchdog said the health and care regulator was still not able to prove its value for money.

The CQC faced a barrage of criticism in 2011 and 2012 over its weak leadership, lack of skills and capacity and failure to intervene quickly in failing services. It has since attempted to transform its performance with a new structure and leadership team and revised inspection frameworks for hospitals, GP surgeries and care services.

“The commission has made substantial progress in the face of sustained criticism, and is developing a more intelligence-driven approach to regulation,” auditor general Amyas Morse said.

“Further challenges lie ahead for the commission to demonstrate, in practice, effectiveness and value for money. It now needs to build an organisational culture that gives its people the confidence, as well as the skills, to apply the regulatory model assertively, fairly and consistently.”

In particular, the NAO highlighted the CQC’s new responsibilities to oversee the financial sustainability of the largest adult care providers, which took effect in April this year.

The watchdog began carrying out this role before its in-house expertise was fully in place, the NAO said.

Responding to the report, CQC chief executive David Behan said: “I am greatly encouraged that the NAO has recognised the substantial progress that CQC has made in developing, testing and rolling out our new inspection model, which has people at its heart and which delivers a deep insight into the quality and safety of care that they are receiving.

“This has required significant staff investment both at leadership and inspection levels, as well as time to work with our partners, providers, commissioners, staff, people who use services and those who represent them to get our approach right.

“We know we are not at the end of this journey and that there is more to be done. In particular, recruiting, training and supporting our staff is a key priority of ours, as is a complete overhaul to our registration process for providers to improve its efficiency and overall experience.”

  • Vivienne Russell

    Vivienne Russell is managing editor of Public Finance magazine and publicfinance.co.uk

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