• Care Quality Commission to recruit 100 new inspectors this year
  • Regulator has underspent on pay costs by £10m after failing to recruit
  • Recruitment will address workload and “skill mix issues”

The Care Quality Commission is to recruit an extra 100 inspectors this year amid concerns from staff over unmanageable workloads.

The regulator has moved to an “always on” approach to recruitment after underspending on pay costs by £10.2m in the nine months to December due to a failure to recruit sufficient staff.

A survey of CQC staff found the size of the workload was a key source of disquiet. The worst affected directorate was adult social care where only 22 per cent of staff agreed their workload was manageable. The next lowest score was the hospital directorate at 54 per cent.

Following the survey, the regulator has said it would work to bring both directorates up to their full staffing establishment. The primary medical services directorate is already at full establishment. The recruitment is scheduled to be completed by the end of this month.

In addition, 100 inspectors will be recruited after March to boost staffing levels and address “skill mix issues”.

The CQC said it hoped to reduce the time between a member of staff leaving their job and a replacement arriving by launching the “always on” recruitment policy.

Finance director Kate Harrison told the CQC board: “The pay underspend is very much due to recruitment not having gone as well as it could do.

“At the end of Q3 we were underspent having a net surplus of £8.1m, which is made up of an underspend on £10.2m offset by an under recovery on income of £1.6m.

“We are still forecasting a surplus of around £10.2m, that is largely on pay although some still on non-pay due to the continued drive for efficiency on the non-pay area and linked to that is colleagues in the people directorate are moving to an always on recruitment model, so next year we are hoping that will enable us to have a steady stream of people coming in and we are not underspending on pay. Any underspend that we do have will be taken into a reserve held by the CQC and used for the benefit of fee payers.”

She added that the CQC will face increasing financial pressures during the next two years: “We still have a need to reduce expenditure next year. We will have a budget of £223m next year, the following year we will have a budget of £217m so we still need to take money out of the system and we need to achieve quite a lot of change during that period.”