What's Wrong with CQC?

Author: John Burton

The extreme crisis in the social care system is not just financial. There are long-standing and increasing problems in the quality of the support it provides. Whilst cuts and cost pressures increase, the Care Quality Commission (CQC) is expected to ensure that people are protected from abuse. However this system does not work and, as it's currently organised, cannot work.

In this important paper John Burton argues that CQC is failing in one of its primary responsibilities, to ensure the quality of registered care homes. There are many reason why CQC cannot - as it is currently organised - be effective:

  • CQC is not effective at finding cases of abuse or preventing it
  • CQC focuses on meaningless processes, rather than the quality of human relationships
  • CQC places inappropriate burdens onto a struggling system
  • CQC does not respond to complaints, but rewards organisations that fill in forms correctly
  • CQC is expensive, bureaucratic and disconnected from real communities

There is an important role for the regulation of social care and there are real risks in leaving people unprotected in institutional environments, but an effective system would:

  1. Be local and based on real observations, not meaningless paperwork
  2. Focus on the quality of relationship and doesn't distract people from their real work
  3. Provide a real service and helpful information for local people

As CQC has come to dominate the landscape of health and social care few organisations will risk challenging its obvious failings. It is seen as too important to fail and too powerful to cross. Hopefully this paper will encourage others to be brave enough to state publicly what they'll admit in private.

Read and download the free pdf in your browser here.


The publisher is the Centre for Welfare Reform.

What's Wrong with CQC? © John Burton 2017.

All Rights Reserved. No part of this paper may be reproduced in any form without permission from the publisher except for the quotation of brief passages in reviews.

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