Quality Accounts requirements 2021/22

Organisations are required under the Health Act 2009 and subsequent Health and Social Care Act 2012 to produce Quality Accounts if they deliver services under an NHS Standard Contract, have staff numbers over 50 and NHS income greater than £130k per annum.

If you are a provider above this threshold, you will be required to publish your Quality Account for the 2021-22 financial year by 30 June 2022.

The processes for producing Quality Accounts remain the same as previous years, with the following exceptions to NHS providers:

  1. NHS foundation trusts are no longer required to produce a Quality Report as part of their Annual Report. This is confirmed in the FT Annual Reporting Manual for 2021-22, which is available here: https://www.england.nhs.uk/financial-accounting-and-reporting/nhs-foundation-trust-annual-reporting-manual/. NHS foundation trusts will continue to produce a separate Quality Account for 2021-22.
  2. There is no national requirement for NHS trusts or NHS foundation trusts to obtain external auditor assurance on the quality account or quality report, with the latter no longer prepared.  Any NHS trust or NHS foundation trust may choose to locally commission assurance over the quality account; this is a matter for local discussion between the Trust (or governors for an NHS foundation trust) and its auditor. For quality accounts approval from within the Trust’s own governance procedures is sufficient.
  3. The publication process has been amended for this year, as noted below.
  4. Integrated Care Boards (ICBs) will assume Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) responsibilities for the review and scrutiny of Quality Accounts (subject to the Health and Care Bill receiving Royal Assent).  Where this function has not transferred from CCGs to ICBs, CCGs must continue to undertake it for the 2021-22 reporting cycle.  ICBs/ CCGs must clarify with providers where they are expected to send their Quality Account.

NHS providers may find it helpful, when producing their Quality Account, to refer back to the relevant NHS Operational Planning and Contracting Guidance for 2020-21.

Organisations are also reminded that schedule 6, paragraph 11b of the Terms and Conditions of Service for NHS Doctors and Dentists in Training (England) 2016 requires “a consolidated annual report on rota gaps and the plan for improvement to reduce these gaps shall be included in a statement in the Trust’s Quality Account”.

Publishing requirements for 2021/22

The NHS.uk website no longer allows NHS organisations to upload reports. Therefore, we ask all providers producing Quality Accounts (NHS and non-NHS) to:

  1. Upload your Quality Account to an appropriate page on your organisation’s website. Please ensure this is clearly visible and easily accessed by members of the public.
  2. Forward the link of the webpage to the following email addresses:
    NHS providers – quality-accounts@nhs.net
    Independent providers – QualityAccounts@dhsc.gov.uk

National Quality Board’s review of Quality Accounts

The National Quality Board has been undertaking a review of Quality Accounts to determine how they could be improved and updated. This review does not affect the 2021-22 Quality Accounts requirements, however it is anticipated that changes may come into effect for the 2022-23 requirements.