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CQC inspection spending fall raises questions for government

The CQC is spending a smaller percentage of its income oninspections than the regulator it replaced, a freedomof information request by Lucy Series, researcher and author of The Small Place blog, hasrevealed.

The figures show the CQC spent 38% of its expenditure on inspections in 2009-10and 2010-11 as opposed to and average of the 53% spent by the Commission forSocial Care Inspectorate.

There is a context that makes this more interesting.

Over those two years since the CQC’s creation the numberof inspectors has remained static while inspectionrates have dropped 70%. The CQC is also operating on a budget smaller thanits predecessor.

What does that all mean?

As the CQC was tasked and registering providers of health and social care undera new act with less money it’s not really terribly surprising that thepercentage of its budget, and staff time, dedicated to inspecting has fallen.

That said it’s pretty hard to argue that anything is more important thaninspecting services efficiently (that is after all their sole purpose).

So, that raises questions not for the CQC but for government. How can thegovernment, and the previous government, expect effective regulation (which mostin the sector seem to agree means a high-level of onsite inspection) withoutthe appropriate resources?