July 20, 2022

CQC Standards: Everything You Need to Know

Table of contents

As a homecare business, being CQC (Care Quality Commission) compliant is essential and vitally important for so many reasons.  

Not only does it give your care recipients peace of mind, but it also reassures their loved ones that they’re in the right place, getting the type of care, treatment and attention that will keep them happy and healthy. 

It’s also for you as a homecare business or care professional – and your team.  CQC measures you against certain criteria, so you know how well you’re performing and gives you clear direction for the future.

The CQC assesses all health and social care providers (this is a legal requirement) and provides a thorough inspection report with lots of detail. Scoring involves using five different areas (5 CQC Standards) to generate an overall rating.  Ratings are as follows; outstanding, good, requires improvement, or inadequate.  In this piece, we’ll talk about the 5 CQC Standards and give you further information on each so when it comes to your next inspection, you know exactly what to expect and to make sure that you get the rating you want.

The 5 CQC Standards

CQC standards are a set of 5 areas by which the CQC inspector awards your business a rating. These areas are…

  • Are you a safe environment?
  • Are you an effective care provider?
  • Are you caring?
  • Are you responsive to your care recipients’ needs?
  • Is your homecare provider managed well?

These questions make up the CQC Five Standards – and your rating is determined by how well your homecare business responds to the questions – or standards as above.  Let’s explore each standard in a little more detail.


You will be measured for safety.  This doesn’t just relate to your environment but also relates to how well your care recipients are protected from abuse or harm. Any medication or treatment must only be given with the care recipient’s (or, if they are unable to give permission due to health reasons, their loved ones’) permission.


This relates to how effective you are as a care provider.  How well do you care for your care recipients?  How do you support achieving positive outcomes and assist your care recipients in maintaining a good quality of life?  The CQC will look for evidence of how you treat your care recipients, and obviously will be assessing respect, kindness and how effectively any treatment provided is for your care recipients.


Being caring is the core of what you do and the CQC will look at how well you and your team treat care recipients.  They will expect kindness, empathy, compassion, dignity and respect.


This looks at how you respond to your care recipients’ needs, so that could relate to whether the right processes are in place to respond to something quickly, what services you offer and how they’re organised.  Overall, it relates to how your care recipients’ needs are met.


As previously mentioned, this relates to how well-led your homecare business is.  So, the CQC will look at how you manage your business, and your team along with the type of learning and innovation that’s provided, with the main aim being to ensure you’re providing the best possible care for your care recipients.  Additionally, being well-led also relates to what the working culture is like, is it open, friendly, approachable, for example?

Now you know what the 5 CQC Standards are – what’s Birdie’s best advice for making sure that you meet them – and exceed your goals for that Outstanding rating you want?

How to Meet CQC Standards

Running a homecare business is no mean feat!  You and your team have to be kind, caring, thoughtful and sympathetic but you also have to be on-the-ball.  Keeping your care recipients safe and comfortable in a pleasant environment is another top priority – but what else should you do to mee CQC standards?  Let’s explore this in more detail.

  • Your systems have to be robust enough to cope with your care recipients’ needs.  For example, making sure that all treatment is met properly, that you adhere to regulations and that documents are clearly kept up-to-date and are easily accessible.
  • Your team must be experienced and qualified plus you must make sure that all relevant checks have been completed (for example, DBS checks, criminal record checks etc.).
  • Do check your risk assessments and revisit them regularly to make sure your care recipients are kept safe and secure.  Document any accidents that might have occurred and why as well as how they were dealt with and what you put into place to manage these types of situations going forwards to minimise further risk.
  • Keep a complaints system in place too – hopefully you won’t have any, but you will be asked to present any complaints and have a process in place for reporting complaints as well as how you respond to them, always with your care recipients’ in mind.
  • Think about training – do you offer your team regular training to make sure that they deliver the best possible care?  Often, it’s well worthwhile investigating new techniques to help with care, or perhaps you want to offer new services, like physiotherapy for example?  Maybe it’s examining a great new system for your homecare business, that’s modern and harnesses the latest technology so everything is kept in one central area?  Regular training for your team is always viewed positively.

If you do all of the above and you’re striving for that “Outstanding” rating – what else can you do to get it?

  • You should show that you always strive to do more and continue to better your homecare business.  Having regular team meetings and reviews/appraisals with individual team members, displaying a positive culture with a happy team is a genuine positive, for all involved!  Even better is a homecare business with low staff turnover.
  • A clean, tidy and safe environment is another essential ingredient for an Outstanding rating.  This also relates to good infection control.
  • Show that you regularly audit how you look after care recipients, that you and your team work collaboratively, and you always look to build on the level of care you provide through new techniques, good teamwork and efficiency.
  • Of course, being as caring as possible to care recipients is essential but this also extends to your team.  Do you meet and exceed your care recipients’ needs?  
  • Engage with your care recipients and their loved ones, seeking out their views and providing regular feedback.
  • Lead your team well, being supportive and communicating well.  Making informed decisions and allowing your team to be actively involved in decision making.  

Achieving outstanding CQC inspection results

Finally, following any inspection, read and digest your report and take action on any points that need addressing.  Always get your team involved and discuss each action point, how you’re going to take action and at a later date, evaluate the action taken.  Being CQC compliant is an ongoing process – there will always be goals to reach, and the best homecare businesses go the extra mile to do more, even if they’ve achieved that coveted Outstanding status!

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