Care Quality Commission
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Working with National Voices and the Point of Care Foundation on Regulators’ Pioneer Fund project

In September 2023, the Regulators’ Pioneer Fund awarded us a grant of £635,394.

We will use this funding to develop a framework to support integrated care systems (ICSs) in reducing health inequalities. This will help them to measure how well they listen to the experience and needs of people and communities.

Over the next 12 months, we will work with National Voices and the Point of Care Foundation. Together, we will develop a self-assessment framework for ICSs that is both rigorous and can be scaled up.

We will work with partners in health and care systems and the voluntary and community sector to:

  • identify innovative and creative ways of measuring how well ICSs understand and respond to the health and care needs of people who are more likely to have a poorer experience of care and face inequalities
  • co-design and test a framework for measuring the impact of approaches to tackle inequalities
  • develop, test and promote a suite of associated guidance, learning products and activities.

Chris Day, Director of Engagement at CQC, said:

We are pleased to be working on this project with the Point of Care Foundation and National Voices, as well as with partners in the health and care system. The framework will enable integrated care systems to demonstrate their progress and success in how they understand and respond to the health and care needs of people and communities. It will also show how inequalities in health and care services are being reduced.

Our State of Care report shows that inequality in access, experience and outcomes of health and social care is a fundamental problem. Systems need our support to achieve their health inequality objectives and address these.

Currently, ICSs have no consistent approach for measuring the impact of involving people and communities on reducing health inequalities. We are refining our approach following the pilots and looking ahead to the rollout of the first assessments of ICSs. We are committed to supporting them to tackle inequalities in outcomes, experience and access to health and social care.

The project also supports CQC’s wider strategic ambitions to:
-  deliver regulation driven by people’s experiences and needs
-  provide independent assurance to the public of the quality of care in their area
-  push for equality of access, experiences and outcomes from health and social care services.

Jacob Lant, Chief Executive of National Voices, said:

We are excited to embark on this important project from the Regulators’ Pioneer Fund alongside CQC and the Point of Care Foundation.

Integrated care systems are a genuine opportunity to ensure that health and care needs of people and communities are fulfilled in a co-ordinated, person-centred way that puts the individual in control of their own health.

We are delighted to be involved in the creation of this new framework, co-produced with voluntary, community and social enterprise (VCSE) organisations and people with lived experience. In helping ICSs to assess how well they are engaging with people and communities, especially those at risk of health inequalities, we hope to help ICSs realise their true potential.

Jessie Cunnett, CEO of the Point of Care Foundation, said:

We are delighted to be working with CQC and National Voices on this project. We will be working to co-design and test a framework for ICSs that will help measure the impact of their work to reduce health inequalities.

This project aligns with our mission to humanise health and care by working to ensure people and communities are at the heart of developing the services they use. To achieve truly inclusive and compassionate services, we must be able to recognise and learn from the different experiences of diverse groups within our communities.

Get involved

To inform the framework, we are looking for examples of best practice. Do you have an example of:

  • outstanding or innovative work to involve people and communities within a system?
  • people and community involvement in an integrated care system that has led to a reduction in health inequalities?

If so, please send them to

To keep up to date, join Citizen Lab, our online engagement platform. This is where we will share project updates and involvement opportunities.

Regulators’ Pioneer Fund

The Regulators’ Pioneer Fund (RPF) is a grant-based fund for UK regulators and local authorities. It aims to help create a regulatory environment that encourages business innovation and investment. The current £12m round is being delivered by the Department for Science, Innovation and Technology (DSIT).

Through this funding round, we received grants for 2 further projects:

  • Exploring and piloting ways to develop the right regulatory environment for innovation to flourish. This 8-month project received £118,004. It found that we:
    • can do more to deliver innovation-supporting regulation that leads to more people receiving high-quality care
    • have unique opportunities to support innovation through our new role in systems and our assessment framework.
  • Exploring how we drive innovation and accelerate improvement in medicines sustainability. This 12-month project received £222,216. It will focus on understanding how individual providers and local systems can foster better sustainability.

Find out more about projects selected for the RPF (2022)

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