Getting to grips with the Memorandum of Understanding

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For the purpose of this article, we’ll be focusing our attention on the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the Care Quality Commission (CQC) and the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).

What’s a MoU?

A MoU is a type of joint working agreement described as ‘a statement of intent between two organisations to work together and outline what this aims to achieve’.

Quite simply, the agreement details who should take the lead when investigating various types of incidents – like legionella and RIDDOR, for example.

The MoU between the CQC and the HSE was last reviewed back in December 2017, and no changes were made to the enforcement allocation between the two.

Where does enforcement action reside?

Generally speaking, if an incident occurs within a service that’s registered with the CQC, they will investigate the incident and enforce their legislation. Some examples given in the MoU include:

  • Falls from windows
  • Scalding (when using washing facilities)
  • Risk of legionella or contracting of legionnaires’ disease
  • Injury to a service user while being cared for at home
  • Ill-treatment or wilful neglect of any service user.

That said, if the CQC feel they’re unable to enforce on any of the above (along with any other area outlined in the MoU agreement), they can turn to the HSE or Local Government Association for support.

In some cases though, there may be factors that mean the HSE need to take the lead. The specifics of these are detailed in the MoU but, generally speaking, the HSE will take charge if there are organisations and/or people at fault who aren’t governed by the CQC. For example:

  • Incidents involving maintenance contractors (e.g. external maintenance of hot and cold water systems and risk of legionella); or
  • Activities that aren’t managed by a registered care provider (e.g. injury to a service user while travelling in a taxi).

The HSE may also take the lead in incidents where specific HSE legislation has been breached – like LOLER or asbestos regulations, for example – because they’ll be in the best position to deal with the cause of harm.

Sharing is caring

The HSE, CQC and Local Authority Association (LAA) have arrangements in place for sharing information and intelligence between each other – all of which comply with the Data Protection Act, of course.

Full details of the MoU between the CQC and the HSE can be found here. If you’ve any questions or concerns around Health & Safety legislation within your care service, please do get in touch with our team of experts on 0345 844 1111 or

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