Tools & Guides

Key lines of enquiry (KLOE)

Read our step-by-step guide to the Care Quality Commission's (CQC's) KLOEs and discover common barriers to receiving a good or outstanding rating.‍

Key lines of enquiry (KLOE) are tools that regulatory bodies, such as the CQC, use to assess adult social care services and to award a quality rating. Inspectors utilise a standard set of criteria relating to five key questions each care service is asked – are they safe, effective, caring, responsive and well-led?

Inspectors will rate care providers based on these five KLOE as either outstanding, good, requires improvement or inadequate. They’ll also receive a separate rating for the organisation as a whole.

The five KLOEs


"By safe, we mean people are protected from abuse* and avoidable harm."
(*Abuse can be physical, sexual, mental or psychological, financial, neglect, institutional or discriminatory.)


"By effective, we mean that people’s care, treatment and support achieves good outcomes, promotes a good quality of life and is based on the best available evidence."


"By caring, we mean that the service involves and treats people with compassion, kindness, dignity and respect."


"By responsive, we mean that services meet people’s needs."


"By well-led, we mean that the leadership, management and governance of the organisation assures the delivery of high-quality and person-centred care, supports learning and innovation, and promotes an open and fair culture."

How does the CQC use these five key questions in their inspections?

Each of the five key questions is further divided into several sub-questions that inspectors use to help them structure their audits. Having this set list of standard questions helps the CQC stay consistent when rating care providers. They’re also a handy tool for you to use when preparing for your next inspection.

Common barriers to receiving a good or outstanding rating

The reason why many care providers fail to get a good or outstanding rating for KLOEs is often related to one of the below areas.

Client safety

Regulatory bodies take the safety of your service users very seriously. That means that inspectors want to see very thorough risk assessments and comprehensive risk management practices. It’s essential that you can show them that you understand the risks for each individual client and the steps you’ve taken to minimise these.

Luckily, we have several risk assessment templates for you to use in our Pro and Group Plans.

Since the COVID pandemic, there has also been an increased focus on infection control procedures. So, make sure to pay extra attention to infection prevention measures.

Open and transparent feedback culture

The CQC wants to see that you’re creating an environment in which staff and service users feel encouraged to voice feedback or concerns and that you have good processes around how you handle and follow up on that feedback.

Remember – every complaint is an opportunity for you to improve your service and everyone’s experience. Show the inspector that you learn and implement improvements when things go wrong.

Staff training and supervision

We know how busy things can get on a normal day in care and that it’s easy to postpone training sessions. However, it’s critical that your staff are well-trained and up-to-date with the latest regulations, policies and procedures – and your inspector will quickly pick up on it if staff development has fallen by the wayside.

You should also make sure you have adequate supervision in place to ensure that your clients’ needs are met.

An online platform like ours can be a great tool to support that required oversight. Managers can quickly pick up on missed tasks or incidents in the Care Office, even from the comfort of their homes.

Medication administration

Medication is when things can get dangerous really quickly. That is why the CQC really stress having a robust process in place for handling and administering medications safely.

Check out our eMAR Add-on to help you manage your entire medication lifecycle.

Person-centred care

Inspectors expect you to be able to provide documented evidence of your care planning and delivery for each service user, and they want to see that you’ve considered each individual’s needs (physical, mental, emotional and social) and preferences throughout.

With a digital care management platform like ours, pulling together that audit trail is thankfully easier than ever.

How we support you with KLOEs

The CQC expects to see that technology and equipment are used to enhance the delivery of high-quality care and support. This is where we come in.

Our platform supports you in evidencing the care you provide effectively and efficiently. No more hunting for that one sheet of paper in a full cabinet of paper reports to demonstrate that your service meets the KLOE requirements.

In the Care Office, you can easily access an audit trail for the care provided for each individual service user and your service as a whole.

Book your live demo 

Useful CQC resources

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