The Towards Outstanding series offers essential resources for health and social care services regulated by the Care Quality Commission, built around the ‘five questions’ that CQC inspectors use (are services safe, effective, caring, responsive and well-led?). Written by a senior CQC inspector, titles in the series show how a mindset of getting the basics right then applying finishing touches can allow any service to move towards an ‘Outstanding’ rating. Effective Leadership in Health and Social Care takes a close-up look at the ‘well-led’ aspect of assessment. The CQC is moving towards a common approach framework and changing the way it regulates, with a more risk focused approach being developed and far greater use of data. Leaders and managers of regulated services need to understand how to ensure that the five areas are delivered well and – just as importantly – how they will be assessed.