Headlines: April 16th, 2007



Seven new specialist enforcement teams are being set up to tackle poorly performing services, under proposals from the Commission for Social Care Inspection, which says the move is a reflection of its commitment to stamping out bad practice wherever the Commission finds it and to improving services.

The CSCI says there has already been considerable progress, but there is more work to do. A new enforcement unit will be established in each of its seven regions and they will be led by an experienced senior inspector, to be called a Regulation Manager, supported by specialist inspectors.

The teams will work with the Commission’s lawyers to improve the speed, quality and consistency of enforcement activity. The CSCI will also keep local councils that buy in services for local residents up to date with information about poorly performing care services in their area, and about any legally binding ‘requirements to improve’ that are placed on services by inspectors.

CSCI is also planning to give more prominence to its enforcement activities through the media for the benefit of care service users and their families and friends and to keep local councils informed. The Commission has pointed out that in the nine months to December last year, 72 per cent of services that were assessed to be poor had improved or closed down. The use of statutory enforcement powers was estimated to have played a part in 16 per cent of those cases.

The CSCI Chair, Dame Denise Platt, said the new regional enforcement teams would allow the Commission to be more effective at tackling poor providers and to be clearer about when and for how long providers should be given time to improve before enforcement action was taken to close them down.

“We are also seeking additional powers of prosecution in situations where there have been serious breaches of the regulations or where the safety or care of people has been compromised, but where the situation does not meet the criteria for urgent action or closure,” she added.