Care Quality Commission

How the health and social care quality and safety regulator for England transformed their approach to Leadership

About Care Quality Commission

The CQC is the quality and safety regulator of health and social care in England. It plays a vital role in ensuring services that people are provided with safe, effective, compassionate and high-quality care when they need it.

It was created in 2009 by a merger of 3 separate regulatory bodies. In 2012, under the stewardship of Sir David Behan, they began a process to restore political, professional and public confidence in the CQC and turnaround the organization.

Client: Care Quality Commission

Sector: Health and Social Care

Initiative: Organizational Development and Change

Overview: Designing a process to enable them to fully connect, build relationships and trust each other


After being assessed as “not fit for purpose” by 3 separate external bodies, the CQC chose Ashridge as their partner for a vital organizational development and change program for their leaders and managers.

Together we have transformed the fundamental approach to leadership, and our work has had a significant impact on the commission, instilling a sense of organization-wide ownership for the CQC’s challenges and embedding a shared vision for the future.

The Challenge

· Limited connection between colleagues and directorates

· Unable to work collaboratively

· Leaders and managers needed to develop a sense of ownership and personal responsibility for the future of the CQC

Guy Lubitsh, Program Director

“Internally a number of issues existed, ranging from decision-making processes, the hierarchical structure and siloed working. Despite structural changes, there was a sense of the CQC still being 3 separate organizations with multiple sub-cultures, views and leadership styles.”

Guy Lubitsh, Program Director

Ashridge Executive Education

The Solution

We worked first with the newly formed Senior Executive Team, designing a process to enable them to fully connect, build relationships and trust each other. Our approach facilitated honest and open feedback, from which the need to change leadership approaches emerged.

Working together with all CQC leaders and managers, we created a powerful change initiative that:

· Instilled distributed leadership (instead of top-down, centralized leadership) as the way forward

· Fostered new and collaborative ways of working

· Helped leaders to recognize and focus on activities that would add value

· Increased responsiveness and adaptability to external challenges

· Developed leaders’ ability to adapt and change

The Impact

The program became a catalyst for redefining CQC’s organizational vision and exploring current beliefs. The result of this is an amalgam of leaders aligned around a shared ambition to be enablers of change in the health and social care system.

With distributed leadership embedded, a new energy has been unleashed throughout the organization, which has led to leaders and managers making changes and taking action to further progress the CQC’s ability to deliver.

Sir David Behan

“This program has been a crucial factor in achieving our turnaround.”

Sir David Behan

CEO, Care Quality Commission

Ruth Bailey

“This program has helped us to create CQC’s long-term sustainability, changing the culture and ways of working.”

Ruth Bailey

Director of People, Care Quality Commission

Patient using a zimmerframe

Hult International Business School
Hult International Business School 
Ashridge Executive Education