The five key questions we ask

Page last updated: 25 August 2022

There are five questions we ask of all care services. They're at the heart of the way we regulate and they help us to make sure we focus on the things that matter to people.

We ask the same five questions of all the services we inspect:

Are they safe?

Safe: you are protected from abuse and avoidable harm.

Are they effective?

Effective: your care, treatment and support achieves good outcomes, helps you to maintain quality of life and is based on the best available evidence.

Are they caring?

Caring: staff involve and treat you with compassion, kindness, dignity and respect.

Are they responsive to people's needs?

Responsive: services are organised so that they meet your needs.

Are they well-led?

Well-led: the leadership, management and governance of the organisation make sure it's providing high-quality care that's based around your individual needs, that it encourages learning and innovation, and that it promotes an open and fair culture.

How we use the five key questions in our inspections

Each of our five key questions is broken down into a further set of questions. We call these our 'key lines of enquiry'. When we carry out inspections, we use these to help us decide what we need to focus on. For example, the inspection team might look at how risks are identified and managed to help them understand whether a service is safe. We use different key lines of enquiry in different sectors.

Using key lines of enquiry helps us make sure we're consistent in what we look at under each of the five key questions and that we focus on the areas that matter most.