Health and Social Care Act 2008

The Health and Social Care Act 2008 received royal assent on 21 July 2008 and established the Care Quality Commission (CQC) as a new independent regulator, which would span both health and social care.

On 1 April 2009, CQC legally took on the functions of three organisations abolished by the Act:

  • the Commission for Healthcare Audit and Inspection (known as the Healthcare Commission)
  • the Commission for Social Care Inspection (CSCI)
  • 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
  • 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.

Later developments

In 2013, following the Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust Public Inquiry, the CQC published a 3-year strategy outlining significant changes to its regulatory model, including the appointment of three chief inspectors and the introduction of provider ratings.


Health and Social Care Act 2008

Care Quality Commission.
About us.
Care Quality Commision; 2019.

Care Quality Commission.
Regulations for service providers and managers.
Care Quality Commission; 2019.