CQC launches consultation on charging Integrated Care Boards for inspections

The health and care regulator has launched a consultation on its proposed approach to recovering its regulatory costs for assessing Integrated Care Systems (ICSs) by charging Integrated Care Boards (ICBs) an annual regulatory fee. 

The Health and Care Act 2022 gives the Care Quality Commission (CQC) new regulatory powers to review and assess the 42 ICSs in England. It has begun two pilot inspections with Birmingham and Solihull ICS and Dorset ICS using the new single assessment framework outlined in its interim guidance. Although it is unclear if and when ICSs will be given CQC ratings.

The CQC is proposing that each ICB pay an annual fee proportionate to its running cost allowance which it considers is an “effective and equitable indicator of the ICB’s regulatory effort and therefore cost”.

The consultation document includes the proposed regulatory fees for all integrated care boards based on its running cost allowance for 2024/25. North East and North Cumbria as the largest ICB would pay £289,368 for its regulatory fee based on £48million running cost allowance compared to Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin with the smallest annual fee of £46,620 based on £7.7million running cost allowance. You can view the CQC's table here.

CQC’s consultation document explains that the proposal is a “short-term approach only” and that any changes to the future fees model will be subject to a separate consultation. However, CQC plan to carry out initial assessments for all ICSs to achieve a baseline understanding of quality before starting a longer-term approach for ongoing assessment. It says that its forecasted regulatory cost for 2024/25 is based on CQC undertaking initial assessments within a two-year period.

Responding to the consultation

ICBs, NHS England and the Department of Health and Social Care are encouraged to take part in the online consultation – and by 12 noon on 21 December 2023. You can respond to the consultation here

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