We monitor and inspect residential services in order to protect vulnerable people of all ages who are receiving residential care services and to ensure that these people are receiving an appropriate standard and quality of service.

Our inspections can be announced, short-notice announced or unannounced. We inspect in order to:
  • decide on an application by a provider to register a centre
  • monitor continuing compliance with regulations, national standards and conditions of registration
  • assess how a provider responds to an event, change of circumstance or issue identified from information received by the Chief Inspector — any of which might affect the safety and wellbeing of residents

How we make our decisions

We have adopted a common Authority Monitoring Approach to inspecting and making judgments.

This common approach is informed by our Assessment and Judgment Framework and the guidance for the assessment of designated centres. These documents seek to provide assurance that our work is both transparent and consistent. It is publicly available so everyone can see that we make our decisions in a fair and consistent way.

The Assessment and Judgment Framework supports inspectors in gathering evidence and making judgments. It also gives guidance on the levels of compliance and outlines the compliance descriptors.

Thematic inspections

Thematic programmes aim to promote quality improvement in designated centres and to improve the quality of life of people living in these centres.

Thematic programmes assess compliance against the relevant national standards for the particular thematic programme and consist of assessment-judgment frameworks, guidance for providers, self-assessment questionnaires, quality improvement plans and inspections. Providers are expected to use any learning from thematic inspection reports to support continual quality improvement in their designated centres, which will ultimately be of benefit to the people living in these centres.   

During the inspection

The inspector will make observations about the premises and the care and support provided in the centre

Inspectors will assess how the residents’ privacy, dignity and autonomy is respected and promoted, and how the service is managed and governed.

The inspector will be happy to speak with any resident, family member, representative or staff member; and will also understand that some residents and relatives may not want to talk with an inspector.

Residents' questionnaires are sent in advance of announced inspections to allow residents an opportunity to provide feedback on what it is like to live in a designated centre.

Inspectors are at all times required to act in line with our Code of business conduct. Where concerns arise, we encourage services to inform us as soon as possible.

After the inspection

An inspection report is produced after each inspection and published online. All service providers are required to make reports available to residents and their families once they have been finalised.