Commissioners for the Commission for Social Care Inspection (CSCI) today agreed to proceed with implementation of the new star ratings system for all social care providers.
It is hoped that the new hotel-style ratings, for which introduction will now begin in January 2007, will encourage social care providers to improve standards across the sector.
The public consultation for the system received nearly 3,000 responses, with the majority supporting a system that would use 'stars' to describe the rating.
"These new star ratings will be of significant benefit to people who use social care services, both now and in the future," said Dame Denise Platt, who chaired today's meeting.
"The public want these ratings so that they can make informed choices about the quality of care services in their area. They also expect there to be a link between cost and quality – 88 per cent of those we polled expected a care home or care service that costs more to be of a better quality."
Star ratings from nought to three will be used, in addition to a descriptive word such as "excellent", "good", "adequate" or "poor".
Progress on the implementation will be reviewed at the Commission's next meeting in February 2007.