The Care Quality Commission has confirmed it will have to reinspect more than 70 adult social care services in England after it found duplicate material in inspection reports. 

While carrying out its own quality assurance processes, the CQC found that three advisors had provided duplicate material for inspection reports.

The three individuals, none of whom were CQC inspectors, have been removed from inspection activity following the revelations. Two of the individuals in question were part of CQC’s Experts by Experience programme (ExE) and the third, a specialist advisor.

The ExE programme involves members of the public in inspections and activities – people who have personal experience of using or caring for someone who uses health or social care services in inspections and activities.

The duplicate material was discovered in 78 inspections, 77 of which were in the north of England, with one other discovered in London. 

The material has been removed from 40 of the homes, which have been able to retain their CQC ratings. However, the remaining 38 care homes will require inspection.

CQC said it is undertaking a “lessons learned” exercise to see how the quality assurance process can be improved to reduce any likelihood of this happening again. The CQC added that it has also used this incident to inform quality assurance measures in its new ExE contract which officially begins in April.

Kate Terroni, chief inspector of adult social care at CQC, said: “As soon as we became aware of these issues the individuals concerned were immediately removed from inspection activity. Following close analysis and additional peer review, the majority of these reports have been republished without the inclusion of these quotes as they did not affect the rating of the service.”

She added: “There are also a number of locations where, following review, we have decided to reinspect to ensure that the public voice is fully reflected. For those reports where the specialist advisor was involved we will be re-inspecting to ensure that we can be confident in the ratings and findings. All providers affected have now been informed and updates for each location are highlighted on our website. We are taking all actions necessary to reduce the risk of this happening again.”

Professor Martin Green, chief executive of Care England, said: “The recent article about the CQC reports is very worrying for care providers and the general public. The news that CQC inspectors have been cutting and pasting their reports is quite scandalous.”

He added: “Care providers have invested heavily in improving quality, transparency and developing open cultures and have a right to expect the same from the regulator, particularly since providers are paying significant amounts of money for this service. It is vital for citizens, and for care providers that the judgement of CQC is both fair and impartial and is based on the evidence that they see during inspections."

“Citizens also need to be confident in the CQC assessments, because this is the primary source of information when they are making life-changing decisions about care.”

Ravi Bains founder of Grosvenor Health and Social Care, commented: "CQC reports hold significant sway over the reputation of a provider within its local community. Therefore, providers must have certainty the inspection regime is robust, fair and transparent. Today's announcement puts that in to question and, just as it is expected of providers, the CQC must do more to reassure providers that lessons have been learned and steps taken to improve oversight in the future. I have every confidence this will be acted on quickly by the CQC."