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

The themed approach to inspection encourages and facilitates improvement within residential services for older people.

As part of these thematic inspections, we have produced self-assessment questionnaires and regulatory guidance for nursing home providers. Each thematic inspection is unannounced and carried out over one day. Inspection reports are produced and published for each of the inspections. Practice guidance and self-assessment tools, designed to assist providers to measure their performance and identify areas for improvement are also provided.

Food Nutrition Guidance and Self-assessment questionnaire

Dementia Care

We have commenced a thematic inspection programme on dementia care.

The relevant guidance, self-assessment tool, and assessment and judgment frameworks can be accessed here.

During the inspection

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

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.

Resident questionnaires are sent in advance of announced inspections to allow residents a 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.