New Care Commission needs to recognise social care status

Association of Directors of Adult Social Services
Date: June 24, 2008
Embargo: Immediate

Concern that social care needs are not being given the status they merit within the new inspection arrangements for health and social care providers forms the basis of ADASS views about the work of the new Care Quality Commission*.

The new Inspectorate is due to begin its operations next April, replacing the work of the previous Commission for Social Care Inspection, the Health Care Commission and the Mental Health Act Commission.

The Association welcomes, though, the tougher regulatory powers that the CQC will wield. In particular, ADASS welcomes the fact that the current definition of the level of personal care subject to regulation has been widened to include people whose mental capacity requires them to be supervised or prompted to undertake personal care.

Administration of medication and activities that restrict or deprive liberty are now also included and this is to be welcomed.

According to David Johnstone, Chair of the ADASS Standards and Performance Network, adult services departments need a regulatory framework that supports social care agencies in responding more flexibly to individual needs and people who manage their own care. So far ADASS believes that the current consultation process has allowed everyone to see that the contribution of social care to the wellbeing of people is more important than perhaps many realise in a policy arena which focuses mainly on NHS services.

Directors warn, however, of their concern that changes might undermine the solid track record that has been built up within the social care sector between local authorities and local providers. We need to actively ensure that the achievements of social care are not diminished in the new constellation, the ADASS response says.

Neither is ADASS clear that the role of Strategic Health Authorities (SHAs) in managing regulation has been sufficiently clearly defined in the consultation document. We need to be clear that local authorities are not accountable to the SHA, directors argue, warning as well of an overall democratic deficit within the consultation document as it stands.

Although the references to the importance of engagement with people as patients or service users is welcomed, ADASS says, there does not appear to be a recognition of the role and responsibilities of elected members. The Association is also `disappointed that day care will continue to lie outside the CQCs remit.

Tougher sanctions and enforcement powers are proposed for the CQC to enable direct and independent action against service providers who fail to meet essential requirements on safety and quality. ADASS believes that given the current `ponderous and convoluted approaches of the Commission for Social Care Inspection to enforcement, these tougher more direct powers are welcomed.

ENDS

For further information contact:
David Johnstone, Chair, ADASS Standards and Performance Network, 01392 383299
Drew Clode, ADASS Policy/Press Adviser, 020 8348 5023/07976 837755

Portrait pictures of David Johnstone available on request

* The Future Regulation of Health and Adult Social Care in England: A consultation on the framework for the registration of health and adult social care providers (DH 2008)