• CQC to cut 400 posts by 2019-20 after cumulative budget cuts of £32m by 2020
  • Inspection resources to be targeted on providers where “risk is greatest”
  • Regulator is relying on new technology to be able to accurately track risk

The Care Quality Commission is to cut 400 full-time equivalent posts by 2019-20 as a result of its shrinking budget.

In board papers this week, the CQC said it has to reduce its budget by “approximately 5 per cent on pay (factoring annual inflation) and 18 per cent on non-pay by 2019-20”. The move is in response to a drop in its annual income every year until 2019-20 when it will have a budget of £217m – a cumulative cut of £32m.

A spokeswoman for the regulator told said not all posts are currently recruited to so the final number of staff cuts may be lower. She added: “We are planning to [reduce posts] through normal staff turnover and only resorting to redundancies when we have explored all other options.”

The paper said by reducing CQC posts from 3,400 to 3,000, the regulator will need to rely on its “flexible pool of special advisers and bank inspectors” when needed.

The strategy implementation plan also said the regulator must do “more for less”, while meeting the challenge of regulating new care models and digital innovations.

It said the CQC will target resources where the “risk to the quality of care is greatest”, but admitted it must “strike the right balance” between a cost effective inspection model and appropriately addressing care quality concerns.

The regulator is putting a large focus on new technology and intends to roll out “CQC Insight”, which offers intelligence to track and flag risk in providers. It also wants to implement new technology that will allow trusts to “automate” the process of submitting data. Although the inspection process will not change, the CQC said that it will “place greater emphasis on ongoing relationships with providers” to ensure inspections are more targeted.

The papers also said the CQC wants to:

  • move from 11 to two assessment frameworks, one for health and one for social care, and next month it will go out to consultation on the change;
  • have a “focus on accountability” so it can be clear about who to hold to account in new organisational forms;
  • deliver a “single shared view of quality across the system” so providers are only asked for information once; and
  • create a more flexible registration process that will also be fully digitised by 2020.

The plan reiterated that by 2019-20 the CQC “will see our main source of funding switch from the Department of Health to fees paid by providers, we are therefore acutely aware of the need to use our resources as efficiently as possible to ensure we are providing value for money”.