The Care Quality Commission was established as an independent, non-departmental public body in 2009 by the Health and Social Care Act 2008. CQC took on the functions of three organisations: the Commission for Healthcare Audit and Inspection (known as the Healthcare Commission), the Commission for Social Care Inspection (CSCI), and the Mental Health Act Commission (MHAC).
The new integrated regulator became responsible for:
- registering providers to ensure they met minimum standards to be considered fit to provide services
- carrying out inspections to ensure registered providers were meeting standards of quality and safety, and
- carrying out enforcement activities where the CQC identified breaches in quality and safety.
All independent healthcare and social care providers were required to register from 1 October 2010.The registration system for all healthcare providers was a new regulatory function for the CQC. Social care providers had been required to register with a national regulator since 2002. The assessment process from 2009 onwards was a compliance model against essential standards (ie a pass/fail system) akin to an MOT and gave little information to users about the quality of services above the essential standards.
In 2013, following the Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust Public Inquiry, the CQC published a three-year strategy outlining significant changes to its regulatory model, including the appointment of three chief inspectors and the introduction of provider ratings.