Forecast: new low, CQC – warnings of gales in Whitehall

Posted on August 10th, by geoff in CT blog. 1 Comment

By Caring Times editor Geoff Hodgson

Last week the Professional Standards Authority (PSA) published a report which condemned the health and social care regulatory framework as being “out of date, over-complicated and too expensive”. Without mentioning it by name, the PSA has put its boot firmly into the Care Quality Commission, the third generation national regulator of health and social care; a ‘new broom’ body which might like to be seen as busily sweeping away the unfortunate errors of its predecessors.

The PSA is bang on the money on all three counts. Out of date: The CQC still thinks of itself as a policeman rather than a partner and is hampered by an unhealthy Orwellian obsession with power. Over-complicated: it is no surprise that regulatory litigation has been a growth area in the world of wig and gown in recent years. Many, probably most, providers still find it hard to get their head around the CQC’s Byzantine methodology (which is why they are spending more on lawyers). Too expensive: well, one has only to consider the 9% hike in registration fees this year – how else are they going to fund eight inspectors turning up at a care home to inspect it (eight! Come on, I ask you), money from the Government?

But this report from the PSA (and no, I hadn’t heard of them before either) makes my antennae twitch. Just as the Tory administration is getting into its stride, breaking its more breakable promises such as delaying the introduction of the cap on care fees by five years, we get this report calling for radical reform of the regulatory framework. I suspect that this report comes as no surprise to Cameron and his Cabinet. I suspect there may have been a nod and a wink over the dry vermouth. The Government is content to let social care peg along on its own; why spend out on a super regulator when the money could go to fund more populist policies such as seven-day GP surgeries? I suspect it won’t be long before we see the deregulation taskforce wheeled out and dusted down.

I venture to predict that within two years, the care sector will have to weather yet another squall of regulatory instability.

  • The CT Blog is written in a personal capacity – comments and opinions expressed are not necessarily endorsed or supported by Caring Times.

One response to “Forecast: new low, CQC – warnings of gales in Whitehall”

  1. John Burton says:

    It always comes as a relief when some quasi government organisation says what has been blindingly obvious to a few of us for the last thirteen years. NCSC, then CSCI, then CQC Mark 1, and now CQC Mark II all got it wrong. They were all creatures of governments (different ones) attempting to shuffle off their responsibilities, and blame care providers for their own shortcomings.
    What’s remarkable is that it has taken so long – and it may take longer – to get back to the proper inspection of social care that the public needs and deserves. That is partly because of the supine collusion – even obsequious encouragement – of most of the sector, leaving good providers (and clients) at the mercy of a self-serving, ignorant, blinkered bureaucracy.
    Now that there are hundreds of people employed and offering consultancy on the basis that the job of care providers is to please CQC and get a “good” or “outstanding”rating, and the job of all managers and care workers to feed CQC with “evidence”, it’s going to be difficult to get them all back to productive work! Some of them may have forgotten how to do it, if they ever knew in the first place.
    If you watch the CQC board meetings, now stripped of some of the most potent members and the Tory Chair, you can see this useless organisation lost in the regulatory maze of their own making. They can’t find their way to the centre (core task) and they can’t find their way out.

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