CQC have to be prepared to operate within tighter economic constraints and has been asked to absorb between 25 and 40 per cent costs savings for its 2016-17 inspection programme. In the most recent CQC board meeting David Behan, Chief Executive of CQC postponed discussions in relation to the budgeting until after the 25 November spending review.
CQC’s current annual grant from the government totals £120m and a reduction of 25 per cent equates to £30m and 40 per cent would be £48m. Both of which appear to be significant reductions which may have to pave the way to a rethink in the way that CQC conducts its business. The grant is provided to cover the shortfall between the cost of regulating providers and the fees recouped and an obvious way to balance the books would be to increase fees. It is worth noting that the grant to CQC has steadily increased by a third in 2013-14 and by half again in 2014-15 to assist with its new inspection approach. CQC also has the ability to recoup monies owing through the collection of registration fees from providers which is not an insignificant amount.
David Behan stated in the Board Meeting papers: – “Undoubtedly, with CQC being asked to consider 25 per cent and 40 per cent reduction in ‘grant in aid’ there will be implications.”
Quite what form these implications might take remains to be seen and the differences between the reductions mentioned could prove difficult for CQC to maintain its level and veracity of its inspections going forward. Indeed today marked the invitation to comment on CQC’s next phase of development which will see the regulator focusing more on those activities and providers that pose the greatest risk.