Care Quality Commission Strategy 2021

A new strategy for the changing world of health and social care.
Graphic of Care Quality Commission logo

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) is changing how it regulates to improve care for everyone and has set out below its plans for the future.

CQC Strategy 2021

What we’ve learned from the past five years puts us in a better position for the future. Our new strategy combines this learning and experience and we’ve developed it with valuable contributions from the public, service providers and all our partners. It means our regulation will be more relevant to the way care is now delivered, more flexible to manage risk and uncertainty, and will enable us to respond in a quicker and more proportionate way as the health and care environment continues to evolve.

This new strategy strengthens our commitment to deliver our purpose: to ensure health and care services provide people with safe, effective, compassionate, high-quality care and to encourage those services to improve. Our strategy is purposefully ambitious, and to implement it we will need to work closely with others to make it a reality. We’ll review this strategy regularly so we can adapt to changes and be prepared for what the future holds.

Our purpose and our role as a regulator won’t change – but how we work will be different.

We set out our ambitions under four themes

  • People and communities: Regulation that’s driven by people’s needs and experiences, focusing on what’s important to people and communities when they access, use and move between services
  • Smarter regulation: Smarter, more dynamic and flexible regulation that provides up-to-date and high-quality information and ratings, easier ways of working with us and a more proportionate response
  • Safety through learning: Regulating for stronger safety cultures across health and care, prioritising learning and improvement and collaborating to value everyone’s perspectives
  • Accelerating improvement: Enabling health and care services and local systems to access support to help improve the quality of care where it’s needed most

Core ambitions

Running through each theme are two core ambitions:

  • Assessing local systems: Providing independent assurance to the public of the quality of care in their area
  • Tackling inequalities in health and care: Pushing for equality of access, experiences and outcomes from health and social care services

We’ll look at how the care provided in a local system is improving outcomes for people and reducing inequalities in their care. This means looking at how services are working together within an integrated system, as well as how systems are performing as a whole.

We’re committed to our ambition of regulating to advance equality and protect people’s Human Rights. Everyone in health and social care has a role to play in tackling the inequalities in health and care for some people. This strategy sets out our ambition for how we can help influence change.


You can download the full report below, which is also available in large print and easy read formats.

CQC - Our strategy from 2021
CQC Strategy 2021 Easy Read
CQC Strategy 2021 Large Print

Do health and social care services know what you really think?

Share your ideas and experiences and help services hear what works, what doesn’t, and what you want from care in the future. 

Share your views