Four countries, four different approaches to care with one shared purpose – to make care better. We look at how the different Government regulators for each nation approach their inspection methods and share some of the useful websites linked to the nations’ care services. 


The Care Inspectorate is the national regulator for care services for Scotland. 

Aligning with the Scottish Government’s Health and Social Care Standards, the Care Inspectorate reviews the quality of care during an inspection using a six-point scaling system. Following the inspection, the evaluation report is summarised in a monthly review of care services to the Scottish Government before upload to the Care Inspectorate website. 

Since June 2020 these reports include the provider’s approach to the safety precautions in place to protect both staff and client from the spread of the coronavirus. 

As part of their dedication to continually improving the level of care within Scotland, the Care Inspectorate also hosts ‘The Hub’. Home care providers can access free resources including; information and guidance on meeting the health and social care standards and the opportunity to attend exclusive Scottish care events.

Additional resources include the Scottish Care website, the largest group of independent sector social care providers. Care Information Scotland has useful resources for both home care providers and for people looking to use care at home services.


England is the biggest of the four nations, in both land size and population with an expected 14.9 million people to be over the age of 65 by 2040, according to the Official of National Statistics.

Overseeing and regulating the care for England is the independent regulator, the Care Quality Commission (CQC). Unlike Scotland’s Care Inspectorate, the CQC uses a rating system that varies from inadequate at the lowest point to outstanding at the highest. These reports are accessible on the CQC website by members of the public.

Over 90% of the care providers using Unique IQ’s software have been rated as outstanding. Further details as to how technology can help gain this rating can be seen in the ‘Outstanding Home Care’ guide.

Recently, the CQC announced as of October 6th 2020 it will be making changes to the way they monitor services, including the adoption of a new transitional approach and further development of its Emergency Support Framework (ESF). There is a growing focus on finding areas where the quality of care needs to improve and expanding its use of resources to support its monitoring and inspections through the use of technology. 

Supporting this move, David Lynes of Unique IQ states: “We know that there is appetite from home care providers to use the tools at their disposal in inspections. Anecdotally, providers that are using our Care Quality Management dashboard have told us that the information it provides saves 2-4 of weeks of manual data processing needed to complete a pre-inspection report.

We fully support the Care Quality Commission’s move towards digital inspection tools; it is our hope and ambition that the very best of what technology has to offer, will be an important driver of outstanding standards in care.”

The CQC is expected to announce more information in the upcoming months, with the rollouts of change applying to all care services in due course. Follow us on social media to keep up to date with this news.


Regulated by the Care Inspectorate Wales, care providers must show they are adhering to a variety of standards set by the Welsh Government Ministers. These include meeting the Regulations and Inspection of Social Care Act 2016 and the Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Act 2014.

Unlike the inspectorates of Scotland and England, the Welsh reports do not use a tiered system for their grading. Instead, they provide an overall summary review of the service and highlight where improvements are needed. The reports are published publicly on the Care Inspectorate Wales in both English and Welsh.

In September 2020, the Care Inspectorate Wales published a national review of prevention and promotion of independence for older adults. The review discusses how people aged over the age of 65 have received support from social care and health services whilst in the vicinity of their own home. The report can help home care providers highlight the areas of improvement that are being experienced on a national scale and make small, local changes to better the experiences for their own clients.

Resources to help towards these improvements include the Social Care Wales website and the Health and Care Research Wales.

Northern Ireland

The smallest of the four countries, Northern Ireland has its own care standards which are in place and inspected by the Regulation and Quality Improvement Authority (RQIA).

The RQIA is an independent body that monitors and inspects care services based on compliance of set areas within their individual reports, these areas can cover: if the care is safe, if the care is effective or if the care is compassionate. As with the other four nations, these reports are published online on the RQIA website.

The RQIA website also contains reviews on the current state of care within Northern Ireland, providing annual documentation about new programmes or methods of inspection introduced throughout the year. Guidance is also available for service providers to help understand the authority’s approach to legislation and standards of care, including how these can be met.

Most recently, the Department of Northern Ireland has launched its ‘Transforming Medication Safety’ five-year plan. Working alongside healthcare professionals, including hospitals and pharmacies, the plan is to reduce medication administration errors and help to lower the number of hospital beds in use due to avoidable medication related events.

Additional resources for Northern Ireland can be accessed at the Department of Health website, including guidance on the current coronavirus approach that can be useful for both clients and carers.

Further resources for home care providers across all four corners of the United Kingdom can be found in our dedicated blog, Resources for Home Care agencies.