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Just a quarter of CQC staff believe its leaders have the right values

Published on: 14 Mar 2024

The latest staff survey results for the Care Quality Commission suggest a significant drop in confidence in the regulator’s leaders.

In one key question, just 27 per cent of staff felt the “values and behaviours” of the CEO and executive team matched those of the organisation, which was down from 55 per cent three years ago.

Several other questions about divisional and local management resulted in significantly worse scores than in 2021, which was the last time the regulator conducted its main staff survey. This included a question about senior managers providing clear direction and leadership.

In a statement, chief executive Ian Trenholm suggested it was understandable some staff were feeling “unhappy and frustrated”, as the CQC has gone through a major overhaul of its workforce and inspection regime.

The proportion of staff recommending CQC as a “good place to work” has also worsened significantly over the same period, going from almost 60 per cent in 2021 to 43 per cent this year.

However, this does represent an improvement on an interim survey last year, when 40 per cent gave positive answers. There was also significant improvement in the proportion of staff feeling positive about the CQC’s strategic direction, when compared to a separate interim survey in 2022.

There was a 78 per cent response rate to the CQC survey, conducted in January and February this year, representing 2,278 employees.

The regulator’s transformation programme was launched in 2021 and involves a move from a “set schedule of inspections to a more flexible, targeted approach”, with greater use of data.

According to this most recent survey, which was shared with HSJ, staff working in operations — who make up more than half of all survey respondents — reported the worst results by far, with drops across nearly every key measure.

In contrast, overall scores for other departments such as technology, data and insight and corporate services, increased significantly compared to 2021 on numerous measures.

Mr Trenholm said some of the concerns were “difficult for me and the executive team to hear, but it’s really important that we do hear people’s concerns, and that we respond to them”.

He added: “I want our staff to know that we are listening and acting on what we are hearing and we are absolutely committed to rebuilding trust.

“As with any large and ambitious organisational change programme, we have faced challenges along the way, some of which have impacted negatively on some areas of the organisation.”