Individual practices should have received a letter dated 27th February 2019 from Professor Steve Field, Chief Inspector General at CQC, outlining the processes for the Annual Regulatory Review (ARR) and focused inspections rated good or outstanding that was introduced from 1st April 2019.

In support of the maximum 5 year interval for inspections for GP Practices that are good or outstanding, CQC has introduced an annual process to identify practices where the quality of care may have changed significantly since the last rated inspection. 

This process is called the annual regulatory review.

This will cover every location rated good or outstanding overall and will include those that are rated good but have a breach.

To assist with the ARR process each GP Practice will be invited to participate in a provider information collection (PIC) telephone call.  This is to ask about any change at the practice since their last inspection.

The information below tells you what is required for that process.

Attached to this is the questions that CQC will be asking when they call to undertake the ARR process.

As part of the preparation for the ARR process it is recommended that you undertake some housekeeping, this includes:

  • Check website details are all correct
  • Check CQC registration is up to date, i.e. any change of partnership, registered manager or regulated activity
  • Update you statement of purpose to ensure that it reflects current practice activities, staffing etc.
  • Your CQC certificate and ratings outcome should be displayed in the practice and also your ratings outcome should be published on your website

Should you require any assistance in preparation for this or you have any queries please contact Sharon Wright:


Practices rated as good or outstanding

If your practice is rated as good or outstanding, we will inspect at least every 5 years. Every year, we will carry out a formal review of the information we hold about your practice. 

Annual regulatory review

The formal annual regulatory review will help us to prioritise our inspections where the information suggests that the quality of care at your practice has changed since our last inspection. This can be either a deterioration or improvement. It will enable us to carry out more focused inspections that concentrate on the areas with the most change. This also allows us to focus where there is the most risk while supporting practices to improve.

Our inspectors will identify any changes by reviewing:

  • the data we hold in CQC Insight
  • information from stakeholders, for example, Healthwatch, or a Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG)
  • information that you provide, including through a structured telephone call each year (as part of the provider information collection).

If this indicates that the quality of care may have improved or deteriorated since your last rating, we may:

  • decide to inspect, or
  • ask you to clarify any information.

It is important that our ratings reflect our best assessment of the quality of care at your practice. If we decide to inspect, we will:

  • write to you formally to tell you that we will inspect in the next six months
  • send you the normal two-weeks' notice of your inspection.

If we don’t need to take any action, we will:

  • tell you that we have carried out the review and that no further action is needed at this stage
  • publish a note of this on your profile page on our website.

An annual regulatory review forms part of our ongoing monitoring but it cannot change your rating, only an inspection can do this.

The review will make sure that our monitoring and planning decisions are clear, consistent and transparent.

Provider information collection

We will ask you for information once a year rather than before an inspection (through what was previously known as the provider information return (PIR)). This is to ask about any changes at the practice since your last inspection or annual regulatory review.

We gather this information by talking with you on a telephone call. Your inspector will contact you four weeks beforehand to arrange a mutually convenient time for this call.

During the call, they will ask you a set of questions. Your answers form the provider information collection. We will consider all the information you tell us when we make decisions.

The call is not an inspection; it is a conversation with you about any changes at the practice. It also gives you the opportunity to add context to the information that we already have about your practice from stakeholders and national data collections.

The calls will help to strengthen the relationship between you and your inspector.

We encourage you to consider the questions as part of your multi-disciplinary team discussions to help reflect on what you have done over the last 12 months. This can help to prepare your responses to the questions so that you provide the information that we need to carry out an effective annual regulatory review.

We are committed to aligning any requests for data with our partners to minimise duplication. We will continue to update our methods as other national data collections become available. For example, if we can get specific information from a national collection, we will not ask for it in the provider information collection. If we make any changes to the collection, we will always work with providers and other organisations to ensure that they are beneficial.

Practices rated as requires improvement or inadequate

If your practice is rated as requires improvement or inadequate, the annual regulatory review process and provider information collection call does not apply.

We will continue to inspect:

  • within six months for a rating of inadequate
  • within 12 months for a rating of requires improvement.

Pre-inspection provider information request

We will still send you a provider information request before your inspection. This is to help us get information that is not available through national data collections, which will inform the inspection.

We won’t send you an annual provider information request or carry out a formal annual review of the information we hold about your practice.

Last updated: 11/11/2019