A former inspector at care regulator the Care Quality Commission (CQC) has been arrested over allegations that care home managers were being offered favourable inspection reports in return for cash payments.

A statement from the City of London Police said that in an early morning operation, a 43-year-old woman was arrested by detectives at her home in Northamptonshire on suspicion of bribery and money laundering. She is currently being questioned at a local police station. DI James Clancey, from the City of London Police, said: "We are working closely with CQC to thoroughly investigate these allegations. We are appealing to anyone who may have information linked to these allegations, to come forward.”  The CQC confirmed in a statement that an inspector has been dismissed for gross misconduct after an internal investigation revealed that “the impartiality of their regulatory judgements had been seriously compromised,” and that the matter had been referred to the police.

The alleged misconduct came to light as a result of whistle-blowing information. Louise Guss, director of governance and legal services at the CQC, said: "Our inspectors operate to extremely high standards of integrity and professionalism. Unfortunately, in any large workforce there is a risk that a tiny minority may act in a way that betrays the principles of their colleagues and of the organisation as a whole, which is what has happened here.   “Having investigated allegations made to us about this inspector and found these were substantiated, we terminated their employment with immediate effect and referred the matter to the police. “This inspector has failed the organisation, failed the providers who rely on us to act fairly and impartially and - most importantly - failed in their responsibility to protect people who use services through identification of poor care.  “CQC operates a zero tolerance policy in regard to fraudulent or dishonest behaviour.  As this case makes clear, we take any credible allegations relating to this behaviour extremely seriously and, following a full investigation, will take the swiftest and most severe action possible against any member of staff found guilty."

If anyone working within the care home industry has experienced similar circumstances, contact the Care Quality Commission on 03000 616161.