Do CQC staff feel safe?

By Dr Minh Alexander retired consultant psychiatrist 27 November 2022


CQC has a history of poor transparency about its staff surveys. In 2015, I asked for sight of CQC’s staff surveys. CQC subsequently announced that it would routinely publish future staff surveys. However, the data is not presented in a complete and accessible way.  A current CQC staffing transparency page displays only results for 2018 and 2019. Results for 2020 appear to be missing from CQC’s website. It is possible that a survey was not even carried out in 2020. Results for the 2021 survey and surveys before 2018 could only be found only by a manual search of archived CQC board papers.

The 2021 CQC people survey shows:

Only 49% of CQC staff think it is safe to challenge the way CQC does things.

Of those who think it is not safe,

– 29% of these staff fear repercussions if they speak up

– 10% of these staff have actually experienced repercussions

The Care Quality Commission demands accountability from others, but CQC itself is often not accountable.

CQC employs over three thousand staff (FTE). The CQC staff surveys are of interest in that they have showed poor speaking up culture.

This is particularly significant in the wake of CQC’s proven persecution of its whistleblower Shyam Kumar, senior surgeon.

In June 2015 I asked for sight of CQC’s staff survey reports (called “people surveys”) and compiled this table from the results provided:

CQC announced in October 2015 that it would publish future people surveys.

Currently only the results for the 2018 and 2019 People Survey are published on CQC’s transparency web page about staff matters.   

CQC people survey results 2018

CQC people survey results 2019

Some CQC “pulse” staff surveys, which are undertaken more frequently, are published but it seems the public dataset is not complete.

I could find no single place on the CQC website where all of CQC’s people survey reports are transparently gathered in one place.

I asked Ian Trenholm CQC CEO on 11 September 2022 if the missing CQC people survey reports from 2020 and 2021 would be published on the relevant CQC transparency web page.

He has still not answered, despite a reminder.

I have asked the Department of Health Permanent Secretary about his expectations of CQC transparency as an arms length body of the Department.

I have also trawled back through CQC’s archived board papers.

But I could find no 2020 CQC people survey report attached to CQC board papers.

It is possible that no survey was even carried out in 2020, as a survey in 2021 references 2019 results as a comparator, and not 2020.

 The 2021 CQC people survey report was located after a manual search of archived board papers.

It is relevant to point out that the Civil Service People survey results are all displayed in one central place, and benchmark reports transparently provide all previous years’ results, to assist interpretation and show trends more clearly. This is a much more accountable approach.

The 2021 CQC people survey showed that less than half (49%) of CQC staff believe “it is safe to challenge the way things are done at CQC”:

Earlier CQC staff surveys, before 2018, also had to be located by a manual search of archived CQC board papers.

The scores on speaking up culture at CQC across the last six years have been poor overall, with less than half of staff feeling safe to challenge the status quo, but with a recent trend of improvement.

YEAR OF SURVEYPercentage of staff replying affirmatively to CQC people survey question “I think it is safe to challenge the way things are done at CQC”

(Agree or Strongly Agree)
2015 report  The question appears either not to have been asked, or alternatively, not reported in the results
2016 report  43%
2017 report  42%
2018 report  42%
2019 report  47%
2020No data published
2021 report  49%

Of interest, the 2021 CQC people survey report gives a more detailed breakdown of the results for this question:

It showed that of the CQC staff who feel that it is NOT safe to challenge the way things are done at CQC,

  • 29% fear repercussions
  • 10% have actually experienced repercussions.

Even amongst those who think that it is safe to challenge things at CQC:

  • 5 percent indicated that they feared repercussion.
  • 15% thought there would be a lack of action by CQC.

Not great statistics for a regulator who polices other organisations’ culture.

Meanwhile, the CQC has wasted more public money by hiring consultants to assist with one of two insider-controlled review of whistleblowing governance and race discrimination.

CQC’s suppression of problems at Tees Esk and Wear Valleys NHS Foundation Trust  

Barry Stanley Wilkinson former CQC inspector gave evidence to parliament that he had raised concerns about CQC suppression of governance issues at TEWV.  

There has been a string of patient deaths and also a homicide since then.

An independent review of the investigation undertaken by Tees Esk and Wear Valley NHS Foundation Trust into the care and treatment of Mr H



Please click and add your signature to this petition to reform UK whistleblowing law – whistleblowers protect us all but weak UK law leaves them wholly exposed, lets abusers off the hook and it is a threat to public safety.

Replace weak UK whistleblowing law and protect whistleblowers and the public


Mr Shyam Kumar, Surgeon and vindicated NHS whistleblower’s case: CQC sacked a whistleblower for disclosures about its poor regulatory performance, and dug for dirt on the whistleblower

Shyam Kumar’s whistleblowing case and the CQC’s inconsistent claims on how it processes feedback data from Specialist Advisors

Serious Case Review into Winterbourne Hospital Abuse

Witness statement of Amanda Pollard CQC whistleblower, to the Mid Staffs Public Inquiry

Resignation letter 26 January 2016 and disclosures by Barry Stanley Wilkinson, CQC whistleblower

Counting the cost of the CQC: Abuse, Whorlton Hall and CQC spin doctors

The spreading CQC Whorlton Hall scandal – emerging allegations at ‘Outstanding’ Newbus Grange. Another CQC deception?

Mr Tristan Reuser’s whistleblowing case: Scandalous employer and regulatory behaviour on FPPR

CQC’s Victimisation of Whistleblowers: Failure to Investigate Concerns

Breach of confidentiality by CQC and complicity in referring a whistleblower to the Disclosure and Barring Service

Whistleblowers Unheard by CQC

More CQC denial about collusion with employers against whistleblowers

Carl Beech, CQC inspector, convicted child sex offender and fraudster: Activities at the CQC

CQC’s Asleep on the Night Shift

CQC case study. Snooping. Briefing. Porkies. And vexatiously applied ‘vexatious’ protocols.

One thought on “Do CQC staff feel safe?

  1. “I’m with the Care Quality Commission – Get Me Out of Here!”
    What a bleak picture the figures paint.
    So glad you have posted them, as there will be repercussions whether the organisation’s elite accepts the reality or not.
    By the way, I doubt if consultants can solve problems that arise from a poor management structure but, of course, the ensuing reports will provide a diversion and deliver additional word salads to avoid addressing the real issues.


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