Today The Disabilities Trust has submitted our response to the CQC’s ambitions as laid out in their new strategy ‘The world of health and social care is changing. So are we’. We welcome the heart of the strategy and its focus on the individual’s journey through care, setting the ambition for regulation to be driven and shaped by each person’s needs and communities experience of care. If implemented effectively, this will challenge and encourage providers to embrace the co-design and co-production of services.

In line with the Government’s recent white paper on Health and Care, the CQC also plans to develop an integrated approach to regulation, assessing a service as part of a system of support. Such a holistic end-to-end approach to regulation will provide transparency on how services work together to have the greatest impact on an individual’s outcomes. However, the approach of delivering care as a system is very different to the previous single provider service model CQC has previously regulated. We are, therefore, concerned to understand the tactical application of the these ambitions and the processes and support put in place to achieve them.

The strategy, which identifies four key points of learning: people and communities, smarter regulation, safety through learning and accelerating improvement, also highlights the need to ensure its regulatory model is fit for purpose and identifies the need to transform.

There is also an opportunity for the sector to develop an appropriately designed ‘shared view of quality’ which has the potential to both reduce the regulatory burden on providers and enable frontline staff to feel more empowered by the process. A clear definition of what outstanding, good and poor care and support looks like will also enable accessible and meaningful engagement with individuals and communities. It will be critical to ensure that engagement strategies are supported by clear and tangible routes to participation which are accessible to individuals with complex needs.

Providers have had the opportunity to develop a new relationship and model of engagement with the Care Quality Commission (CQC) since the start of the pandemic. This was borne out of the urgent, critical necessity of Covid-19 but also advanced a sense of collaboration and partnership that as a provider we have welcomed. My hope is that the learning from this last year, and how we as providers have worked with our regulators to be flexible and dynamic, in the face of such challenge, will be weaved through the CQC’s new strategy.

We look forward to the opportunity to further work with the CQC to help shape the future of regulation for the sector. Covid-19 has accelerated change in many areas of health and care and we welcome the ambition to move towards a more transparent, inclusive and flexible model of regulation to change people’s lives for the better.