Ahead of significant changes in April 2015 in the regulation of the provision of health and social care services across England, the Care Quality Commission (CQC) have published their revised enforcement policy.

From 1st April 2015 the CQC will become the lead investigator and enforcer in health and social care matters and they will become responsible for deciding whether regulatory action is needed for health and safety incidents that involve people who are cared for by the services that they regulate.

The HSE and Local Authorities will continue to have jurisdiction in relation to matters involving workers, visitors and contractors, as well as people receiving care by services that do not need to be registered.

The new enforcement policy will take effect from 1 April 2015 and will replace the previous enforcement policy, setting out the principles and approach that the CQC will follow when using their enforcement powers.

The Policy confirms that the CQC have two primary purposes when using their enforcement powers, which are:

  1. To protect people who use regulated services from harm and the risk of harm, and to ensure they receive health and social care services of an appropriate standard
  2. To hold providers and individuals to account for failures in how the service is provided

In using their enforcement powers, the policy confirms that the CQC will be guided by core principles which include  being on the side of people who use regulated services, proportionality, consistency and transparency. The document also outlines a wide range of enforcement action available to the CQC, which involve both criminal and civil sanctions.

A copy of the newly published policy can be found here.