If so, you may have come across an organisation called CQC. They’re known for their reports on care homes.

On this webpage, you can learn more about who CQC are, and why their reports should be considered when you’re looking for a care home.

You can also find out what CQC thinks of Briarlea.


So, who are CQC?

CQC stands for the Care Quality Commission. They are the government’s official regulators for health and social care in England and Wales.

Their important role is to ensure people receive quality care. And that fundamental standards of safety are being met by care providers. In brief, they hold care homes – like ours – to account for the services we deliver. Before a care home can open as a business, they must first apply for a license from CQC. This is exactly what we did, here at Briarlea.

Before granting this license, CQC will assess whether the applicant home will be able to provide good care for its residents. Only after being satisfied by this condition does CQC give the green light.

CQC will then visit the home at regular intervals. This is to ensure that the business is running smoothly. CQC want to check the care home still provides a good service for everyone in its care. The CQC inspector will grade the quality of the home and write up their findings in a report. This report and rating are publicly listed on CQC’s website.

To create transparency, care homes are obliged to show a link to their CQC rating, or their report, on their own website. Care directories often insist a home’s CQC rating is visible too.

How are Complaints handled?

As the care regulator, CQC is also the body which people can contact to raise concerns about the standards of care in a home. So, if you have witnessed an incident – which you feel cannot be resolved by the care home’s manager – you can escalate your concerns to CQC. They will duly investigate.

This same avenue is open to staff. If anyone working in a home observes a safeguarding issue, one which has compromised the safety of a resident, the home is obliged to report this to CQC. Incidents can range from mistakes on medication to more serious matters.

CQC will log what has happened. And depending on the nature of the breach, they may investigate further. They could also carry out an inspection of the business to ensure safety remains high.

What happens during an inspection?

CQC will inspect a good care home typically every 2-3 years. But if they have concerns that a home isn’t providing quality care to its residents, they may hasten their visit. An inspector will tend to stay at the care home for 1 or 2 business days. Over that time, they will observe the goings on at the home, speak to carers, residents, residents’ families and the care home’s management team.

Their goal is to get a well-rounded view of the care provided. They want to understand what the home is doing well; and equally where it could improve. An inspector will also look through resident care plans, medication charts, safety manuals and other key pieces of paperwork. This is to ensure the home has adequate systems in place to run effectively.

As you can imagine, CQC want to make sure homes provide the highest standards of care. Inspections are therefore rigorous but fair.

What is a CQC Report

Once they have gathered their findings, a CQC inspector will write their observations into a report. This is then published on CQC’s website.

The report is divided into 5 key questions, against which the home is assessed. These are…

  • Is the care home safe?
  • Is the care home effective?
  • Is the care home caring?
  • Is the care home responsive to people’s needs?
  • Is the care home well led?

The report discusses how far the home has reached these milestones. They tend to cite examples of where the home excels and where it can do better.

Based on these criteria, the home is then given an overall rating. The home is either deemed to be…

  • Outstanding
  • Good
  • Requiring Improvement
  • Or Inadequate

To give you an idea, in 2018, 2% of care homes across the country were judged to be outstanding. 77% were rated as good. 19% required improvement while the remainder were deemed inadequate.

What did CQC think of Briarlea?

Briarlea was visited by CQC in 2019. After the inspection, CQC graded Briarlea as a good care home.
We were thrilled. What’s more the rating was consistent with our previous ‘Good’ rating that we achieved back in 2016.

Here are a few nuggets from our latest report that praised the care we provide:

“Staff understood what mattered to people and supported people to achieve the best health and well-being possible”.

“There were sufficient staff to care for people and staff promptly supported people when they wanted assistance”.

“People were supported to have maximum choice and control of their lives and staff supported them in the least restrictive way possible”.

“People had opportunities to do things which they enjoyed, and which responded to their individual needs”.

In addition to meeting residents’ needs, our service was also deemed safe, effective, well led and caring.

Want to learn more?  To read our whole report, click here.


When looking for care, a CQC report can act as a good indicator of a home’s quality. In a sea of information, they are helpful guides. Nevertheless, they shouldn’t be your only tool when conducting your search.

Undoubtedly, a CQC report offers great insight into a home. But like all inspections, they can only offer a glimpse of what a place is really like. And since the report, a care home may have improved or indeed fallen in quality.

So, it’s important to see the home for yourself before making any final decisions. To get a feel of whether it’s the right place for you. At the end of the day, trust your instincts. Moreover, don’t be swayed by a rating until you read their whole report.

A home may score fantastically in several areas – like providing a caring, responsive service – but then let itself down in another category. This could drag down the final grade a home receives. So, we recommend you read the fine print.

We also encourage you to look out for any updates on the report that have since been published. If a home has performed poorly in an area which has been rectified – for instance, paperwork – once corrected, CQC may publish an update. This will say that the issues outlined in the report have been resolved.

A small thing perhaps. But if you’re stuck between a choice of homes, it can make the world of difference. As care homes, we are all in the business of providing the best quality care for our residents. We therefore welcome the role of CQC. Their inspections offer a great way to demonstrate how we’re doing a good job; as well as seeing where we can become even better.

Naturally, we were delighted with our latest report. It provided an accurate reflection on the great service we offer here at Briarlea. We’re working hard to keep our standards high.

If you’re looking for a care home and want to learn more about Briarlea, please call us today on 01386 293 200.

View our CQC Report here


Most people fall in love with Briarlea straight away. But for some, Briarlea won’t be right for them. And that’s absolutely fine. It’s important that you pick a care home you’re happy with.

But if you’re after top quality care, friendly staff, cosy rooms and lots of laughs, why not pay us a visit. We’d love to show you what we have to offer. To arrange a visit, contact our dedicated care home manager, Jo.

If you have a room enquiry, please visit our contact page or CALL

01386 293 200