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CQC’s first step in the inspection process is to send out a “PIR”, or Provider Information Return.

Providers must complete and return this, and it should give CQC a flavour of how the provider is performing, what issues it faces, and therefore perhaps areas on which the inspection should focus.

Many of the questions are basic – how many clients, how many staff, which authorities commission services. Some are more inquisitive, such as how many medication errors have their been, how many complaints, what was the nature of the complaints. But somewhat surprisingly, most of the questions in this year’s PIR focussed on “Protected Characteristics”.

Protected Characteristics came into force with the introduction of the Equality Act 2010.

There are nine principal ones, being:- ~ age ~ disability ~ gender reassignment ~ marriage and civil partnership ~ pregnancy and maternity ~ race ~ religion or belief ~ sex

These are, we would argue, immensely important principles and should be followed in all walks of life. But we do wonder why CQC give them so much prominence.

Ask most recipients of care services what really matters to them, and we suspect the absolute dedication to the Equality Act comes some way down the list.

There just might be a politically driven agenda being followed here.

CQC have enough on their plate in regulating home care.

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