The RQIA was established by the Health and Personal Social Services (Quality, Improvement and Regulation) (Northern Ireland) Order 2003. Under the Order, the RQIA is responsible for keeping the Department informed about the overall state and provision of services and in particular about their availability and quality, and for encouraging improvement in the quality of those services by conducting reviews of health and social care governance arrangements against overall quality standards, thematic service reviews and reviews commissioned by the Department.
The RQIA is also responsible for the regulation (which includes registration and inspection) of establishments and agencies delivering health and social care services including children's homes, day care settings, independent clinics, independent hospitals and independent medical agencies, nursing homes, nursing agencies, residential care homes, residential family centres and domiciliary care agencies.
Voluntary adoption agencies were regulated from 2010.
The Management Statement & Memorandum of Understanding between the RQIA and the DoH was signed in 2006.
In 2014, the Department appointed RSM McClure Watters to conduct a Review of the Regulation and Quality Improvement Authority