How to prepare for a CQC inspection (and what to do if you fail an inspection)


The Care Quality Commission (CQC) is the independent regulator of health and social care services in the England. Regular inspections by the CQC are a crucial part of maintaining high standards of care and ensuring compliance with regulations. This article provides a guide on how to prepare for a CQC inspection and the steps to take if you fail an inspection.

Check out the CQC website for more details on inspection

Preparing for a CQC Inspection

1.Understand the CQC’s Key Lines of Enquiry (KLOEs)

The CQC bases its inspections on five key questions:

  1. Is the service safe?
  2. Effective?
  3. Caring?
  4. Responsive to people’s needs?
  5. Well-led?

Understanding these KLOEs and how they apply to your service is the first step in preparing for an inspection.

  1. Safe: Are service users, staff and visitors are protected from abuse and avoidable harm?
  2. Effective: Is people’s care, treatment and support achieving good outcomes, promotes a good quality of life and is evidence-based where possible?
  3. Caring: Do staff involve and treat people with compassion, kindness, dignity, and respect? Is the culture of the organisation a caring one?
  4. Responsive: Are services organised so that they meet people’s needs? This is a little vague. Essentially ‘Responsive’ concerns whether care is shaped to fit the individual. Is it flexible to those preferences and needs? Does it adapt to fit if those needs or preferences change? It maps on very closely to the principles of Person-Centred Care.
  5. Well-led: Does leadership, management and governance of the organisation assure the delivery of high-quality person-centred care, support learning and innovation, and promote an open and fair culture?

2. Conduct a Self-Assessment

Carry out a self-assessment against the KLOEs to identify areas of strength and areas for improvement. This will help you to anticipate potential issues and take corrective action before the inspection.

3. Review Previous Inspection Reports

Review your previous CQC inspection reports and any action plans you developed in response. Ensure that you have addressed all the issues raised and can demonstrate improvements. If you are a first time, then you must read well on outstanding reports from other providers.

4. Train Your Staff

Ensure that your staff are familiar with the CQC’s standards and expectations. They should understand their roles and responsibilities and be able to demonstrate competence in their duties.

Skills for Care is a UK-based charity dedicated to creating a well-led, skilled, and valued adult social care workforce. They work with adult social care employers to help them deliver what the people they support need and what commissioners and regulators expect. They do this by helping employers get the best from their most valuable resource – their people. Their practical support helps leaders and managers recruit, develop, and lead their staff, retaining them from entry level right through to senior leadership and management roles.

Mandatory Training courses

Here are some of the mandatory training courses that Skills for Care recommends for the adult social care workforce:

  1. Understanding Your Role – This course helps care workers understand their role and responsibilities in the care setting.
  2. Person-Centred Care – This course focuses on understanding and providing person-centred care and support.
  3. Communication – This course helps care workers develop effective communication skills.
  4. Equality and Diversity – This course covers the principles of equality and diversity in the care setting.
  5. Work in a Person-Centred Way – This course focuses on working in a way that respects the individuality of the person being cared for.
  6. Privacy and Dignity – This course helps care workers understand how to maintain the privacy and dignity of the people they support.
  7. Fluids and Nutrition – This course covers the importance of proper hydration and nutrition in the care setting.
  8. Mental Health, Dementia and Learning Disabilities – This course provides an understanding of these conditions and how to support individuals who have them.
  9. Safeguarding Adults – This course covers the principles of safeguarding and protection in health and social care.
  10. Basic Life Support – This course provides the basic skills needed to perform life-saving procedures.

For more information on these courses and other resources provided by Skills for Care, please visit their official website.

5. Organise Your Documentation

Ensure that all necessary documentation is up-to-date and readily available for the inspection. This includes policies and procedures, staff records, service user’s records, and evidence of quality assurance activities.

6. Gather feedback

Engage with your service users and seek their feedback on the quality of care. Feedback can also be obtained from families, other professionals like social workers, nurses, doctors, and other healthcare professionals as well. This will not only help you to improve your service but also demonstrate to the CQC that you value and respond to service user feedback.

What to Do if You Fail a CQC Inspection

1.     Understand the Reasons for the Failure

Review the inspection report carefully to understand the reasons for the failure. The CQC will provide detailed feedback on the areas where you did not meet the required standards.

2.     Develop an Action Plan

Develop a comprehensive action plan to address the issues identified in the inspection report. This should include specific actions, responsible individuals, timelines, and measures of success.

3.     Implement the Action Plan

Implement the action plan and monitor progress regularly. It’s crucial to ensure that the changes you make are sustainable and lead to real improvements in the quality of care.

4.     Seek Support

Consider seeking support from external consultants or professional bodies like Care Quality Support. Visit their website for more information

 They can provide expert advice and guidance to help you improve your service.

5.     Request a Re-inspection.

Once you have implemented your action plan and can demonstrate improvements, you can request a re-inspection by the CQC. This will give you the opportunity to show that you have addressed the issues and are now meeting the required standards.


For more information or assistance on how to do a CQC inspection visit:


phone: +447737144708, +447926623958, +447926624090 

Email address:

Preparing for a CQC inspection can be a difficult task, but with careful planning and continuous quality improvement, it is an achievable goal. If you fail an inspection, it’s important to view it as an opportunity for learning and improvement. By understanding the reasons for the failure and taking decisive action, you can turn the situation around and ensure that you are providing high-quality, safe, and effective care.

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