Equality and human rights

Page last updated: 12 January 2024

We're committed to equality and human rights throughout our work.

It underpins how we register and inspect services and is embedded into the way we perform as an employer.

Meeting your needs and protecting your rights

When we inspect services, we take into account how they:

  • consider your protected characteristics under the Equality Act 2010 as follows:
    • age
    • disability
    • ethnicity
    • sex
    • gender reassignment status
    • religion or belief
    • pregnancy and maternity
    • sexual orientation
  • protect your human rights, treating you fairly, with respect and dignity
  • give you choice and control over the care you receive
  • take action to ensure equality for their staff, as this will improve the quality of the care that they provide.

CQC recognises that people do experience discrimination on the basis of their gender, gender identity and gender expression. Whilst these are not protected characteristics listed under the Equality Act 2010, we consider that the legal obligation (under Regulation 10 Health and Social Care Act 2008 (Regulated Activities) Regulations 2014) on registered persons to treat all people who use their services with dignity and respect includes an obligation to ensure that people do not experience discrimination or detriment when using care services on the basis of their gender, gender identity or gender expression.

Our human rights approach to regulation helps make sure that everyone receives safe and good-quality care.

Our equality objectives 2021-2025

We have a duty to publish equality objectives to meet Equality Act 2010 regulations. These equality objectives cover 4 years, because that is in line with the regulations.

Our strategy gives us new opportunities to help reduce inequalities. Our five equality objectives are priorities and aim to help to deliver equality for:

  • people who use health and social care services
  • people working in health and social care
  • health and care providers that we regulate
  • our own workforce

Our equality objectives are:

  1. Amplifying the voices of people most likely to have a poorer experience of care or have difficulty accessing care
  2. Using data to understand and respond to equality risks
  3. Working with others to improve equality of access, experience and outcomes
  4. Using our independent voice to reduce inequalities
  5. Our inclusive future: delivering on our diversity and inclusion strategy for our workforce

Equally Outstanding

In times of financial constraint, we often see equality and human rights as a challenge. We rarely look at equality and human rights as a solution. Yet, there is growing evidence that equality and human rights for people using services and staff needs to play a central role in improving the quality of care. And we are finding that some of the best providers are doing this successfully – even in times of constraint.

This is what we explore in our resource Equally Outstanding.

Our reports

Equality impact assessments

We analyse how our policies and functions could affect equality and human rights. Our equality impact assessments ensure that there is no discrimination in the way our activities are designed, developed and delivered.