Delphi Guides /

June 2022

CQC Ratings Explained


Following an inspection from the CQC, a provider will be given a rating which indicates the quality of care that the patients receive within that particular facility. Each provider can be given one of four ratings, these ratings are:

  • Outstanding
  • Good
  • Requires Improvement
  • Inadequate

When rating the care service, the CQC will base their judgements on 6 different categories of evidence. These evidence categories are:

  • People’s experiences
  • Feedback from staff and leaders
  • Observations of care
  • Feedback from partners
  • Processes
  • Outcomes of care.

Each rating holds a different meaning and may carry certain ramifications and actions that are required to be taken by the care provider.


Roughly 3% of service providers receive the “Outstanding” rating from the CQC. This is the top rating that an inspector can give out and indicates that the service is performing exceptionally well. In order to achieve an outstanding rating, a care provider must excel in all 5 of the care standards set out by the CQC, known as KLOEs.


If your service receives a “Good” rating following a CQC inspection it means that the service is performing well and meeting their expectations. While an Outstanding rating means that the service is exceeding the KLOE framework, a Good rating indicates that the 5 KLOEs have been met to an acceptable level.

Requires Improvem­ent

The “Requires Improvement” rating means that the CQC believes that the service isn’t performing as well as it should be and have informed them where they must improve. If a service provider is given this rating, they will be subject to another inspection within 12 months of the report being published, to ensure that they have been able to improve upon the points outlined within the inspectors report.


An “Inadequate” rating means that service is performing poorly, there have been serious breaches of the CQC standards and that they have taken action against the person or organisation responsible for running it. When given an Inadequate rating, the care provider will be subject to another inspection within 6 months of the report being published. If the service has not improved following a re-inspection by the CQC, it may be subject to sanctions and/or closure.

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