The characteristics have been developed to help Care Quality Commission’s inspectors assessing residential services make a judgement against each key line of enquiry and then rate them. This then ultimately leads to an overall rating for the service, using the rating aggregation tool. The starting point is a description of the characteristics of a good service. The characteristics are not a checklist and are not exhaustive. They are written to help draw a picture of a service in respect of five key areas, including safety, effectiveness, caring, responsiveness and good leadership.