The Association of Care Managers (ACM) features in The Forgotten Age, an interim report by the Older Age Working Group at the Centre for Social Justice (CSJ).
As part of his submission to the Working Group, John Burton, the Head of the Association of Care Managers, stated:
‘In an attempt to regulate and standardise care in care homes, an expensive and overbearing bureaucracy has been created which diverts attention and funds from the real job. We have elevated audit and a spurious ‘quality assurance’ culture at the expense of real care through human relationships and direct accountability to care home residents and their relatives.’
Among other things, he argues, the system is flawed for the reason that the data is being provided by the very people who are being inspected. The aspect of regulation least likely to uncover abuse – self-assessment – is the very thing which proves so onerous for care home managers, all too often keeping them off the floor and away from the real job of caring and instead chaining them to their desk.
His verdict has been corroborated by many of the care home managers interviewed by the Working Group. One manager, from a care home in a rural area, claimed that the CQC inspector didn’t look at any of the things she should have done. The inspector spent the whole time in the office, scrutinising personnel files and residents’ care plans. ‘They didn’t look in the laundry or the kitchen or at the medication system. That’s where the errors would be.’ Instead of observing care in action inspectors are all too often focussed purely on procedure.