Consultations – why bother to ask?
By guest blogger Bob Ferguson
Care home owners are regularly asked what they think of the latest policy ideas germinated in the Department of Health (DH) or CQC. Far from galvanising them to get involved – even when their world could be turned upside down – consultations tend to be about as welcome as a cold sore.
In recent months, the flow of these projects has swollen into a torrent, some carried out aimlessly, like chapters of a book bound out of sequence, and equally bewildering. For example, the DH consultation on fundamental standards was published ahead of CQC guidance, giving it the effect of a foreign-language film without sub-titles.
The confusion was deepened by the fact that the document itself had underlined the difficulty of understanding either in isolation from the other. Continuing the willy-nilly approach, regulators defied logic by inviting views on the make-up of quality ratings before they had explained what the primary point of reference, the baseline of regulatory compliance, would look like.
Their preparation had included a series of get-togethers with interested parties, cannily hailed as “co-production” events. Health warning! Anyone who is seduced by that into believing it means external participants had equal status in deciding the final outcome should seek medical help immediately.
Now Whitehall has released a consultation portfolio of nearly 800 pages – yes, EIGHT HUNDRED. In an act of supreme indifference, ten weeks have been allotted for responses to the entire pack (the norm for one consultation is twelve weeks), a colossal ask for small providers, and their organisations – those that are interested, that is.
These bureaucrats have one overriding objective: getting the job done within an arbitrary time frame – and they don’t much care how they achieve it. Doing it properly is a secondary consideration. They are just going through the motions. Consultation? Tick. Deadline met? Tick. No wonder consultations are such a turn-off.
– The CT Blog is written in a personal capacity – comments and opinions expressed are not necessarily endorsed or supported by Caring Times.