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The Care Inspectorate is the official body responsible for inspecting standards of care in Scotland. They regulate 14,000 care services, from childminders to care homes and many more. Care services are not allowed to operate unless they are registered with the Care Inspectorate.

The Care Inspectorate carries out joint inspections with other regulators to check how well different organisations in local areas are working to support adults and children. There is a six-point grading scale which starts from unsatisfactory, then weak, adequate, good, very good and excellent. They find that most care homes in Scotland are good, very good or excellent. After every visit, an inspection report is written and uploaded onto the Care Inspectorate website.

As well as care homes, childminders, children’s nurseries, and playgroups, the Care Inspectorate also regulates specialist services such as daycare, adoption and fostering agencies, childcare agencies, nurse agencies, school accommodation, secure accommodation, and respite care. Hospitals and hospices are regulated by Healthcare Improvement Scotland.

Care services must provide quality care as set out in legislation and the National Care Standards and, from April 2018, Scotland's new Health and Social Care Standards. If services are not meeting the right standards, the Care Inspectorate will make recommendations, requirements and can even take enforcement action when necessary. The Scottish Government, together with the Care Inspectorate and Healthcare Improvement Scotland, developed the new Health and Social Care Standards to make sure service users' needs continue to be met.

The Care Inspectorate also investigates complaints about registered care services. If you are not happy about something and the care service hasn't been able to help resolve it, the Care Inspectorate may be able to. You can register your complaint online, in writing, or give them a call.  You do not have to give your name when making a complaint if you do not want to.

To find a care service or inspection report, you can contact them online at careinspectorate.com.