Challenging CQC inspection reports and reviewing ratings

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Challenging CQC inspection reports and reviewing ratings

If you are inspected by CQC and receive an unfavourable report, the consequences for your business could be significant. Depending on the seriousness of the findings in the report, you could suffer damage to your reputation, face the risk of CQC enforcement action, and ultimately lose income.

How can we help you challenge your CQC report?

You have the right to challenge the factual accuracy of your draft report. If you are unhappy with your report, it is imperative that you take action at this stage as it very often forms the basis for further enforcement decisions taken by CQC.  Once the report has been published, it will be too late to change its content. There is a separate process for reviewing the ratings but the best way to get a rating changed is through the factual accuracy process.

You have only 10 working days from the receipt of the draft inspection report from CQC to submit your factual accuracy log.  This is a detailed exercise and requires every bit of time available.  If you would like advice, contact us as soon as you have received the draft inspection report.  Once the deadline has passed, you will not get another chance to challenge the accuracy of your inspection report.

We have a proven record of successful challenges

When considering challenging a CQC inspection report, we will help you with  the following:

  • Has the inspector followed CQC’s guidance? This guidance should determine how the inspection has been carried out.  For example, has the inspector looked for evidence of good practice?  Has he or she examined the evidence relating to the applicable Key Lines Of Equiry (KLOE’s)?  Has the inspector been fair?
  • Has the inspector supplied evidence for his judgments? Is he relying purely on opinions or have people’s opinions been corroborated?  What conclusions does the hard evidence support?  If the inspector has found breaches of the regulations, is there solid evidence for those findings of breach?
  • Pick your fights. We do not recommend that you challenge everything in the draft report. It is better to make a strong case where you are able to evidence that the findings in the draft report are wrong.  This will help preserve your credibility and is likely to achieve a better result in your final inspection report.
  • Are you willing to take a stand? It can be difficult to stand up to the regulator.  However, there are times when CQC gets things wrong.  You have one chance to perusade them to make corrections.  You will need to decide quickly whether you want to make use of the factual accuracy process.  If you let the 10 working days elapse, a ratings review challenge, on its own, is unlikely to get your rating changed.

We have had success in getting changes made to the content of reports, getting breaches withdrawn and upgrading ratings. We will work with you to ensure you improve your chances of success.

If the inspection hasn’t gone well and you are rated as ‘requires improvement’, you may be required to provide CQC with a report on actions or you may receive a warning notice.  You will need to get to grips with the situation before it gets worse; CQC is bringing pressure to bear on services rated as requiring improvement to try to force them to improve.

If, matters are worse yet and your service is rated  ‘inadequate’, it will be placed in special measures or may receive a Notice of Proposal to cancel registration.

We will work with you to prepare an action plan to ensure your service can make the improvements required to avoid further enforcement action.

We can assist you with:

  • Preparing for inspections
  • Challenging draft inspection reports/drafting factual accuracy logs
  • Ratings reviews
  • Challenging embargoes by CQC (Notices of Proposal to impose conditions on registration)
  • Challenging embargos by commissioners
  • Helping you out of special measures, including assistance with action/improvement plans, communicating with CQC and the local authority, and minimising the risk of embargos on placements


I have always found them to be accessible and quick to respond to any queries. I am very happy to recommend the Social Care team at Royds Withy King to other care home providers.
Ravi Gidar, Director Gold Care Homes


You have 10 days from the date you receive the draft inspection report from CQC to submit your factual accuracy log.

Yes.  CQC will usually send you a factual accuracy log form with the draft inspection report.

Lawyers are trained to weigh up the quality and quantity of the evidence and determine whether it supports a particular conclusion, such as a rating or a finding that regulations have been breached.  We will discuss the evidence with you in detail and help you determine what points can be challenged and what evidence will support your view of the facts.  We will also save you time because while the factual accuracy clock is ticking, you still need to run your service.

Contact us to find out how our expert team can help when challenging CQC inspection reports and reviewing ratings.