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Why was RQIA established?

In 2001, the Northern Ireland Executive’s Programme for Government included a commitment to raise the quality of public services. In 2002, Ministerial agreement to proposals in ‘Best Practice, Best Care’, a consultation document published by the Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety (DHSSPS), meant that for the first time health and social care organisations had to fulfil a statutory duty of quality.

The Health and Personal Social Services (Quality, Improvement and Regulation) (Northern Ireland) Order 2003, created the enabling legal framework for raising the quality of health and social care services in Northern Ireland, and extended regulation and quality improvement to a wider range of services. In April 2005, the Regulation and Quality Improvement Authority (RQIA) was established as a non-departmental public body of the DHSSPS.

Since April 2009, under the Health and Social Care (Reform) Act (Northern Ireland) 2009, RQIA undertakes the functions previously carried out by of the Mental Health Commission.