Sunday 17 December 2017
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The upside-down world of social care

“How have we got into a situation whereby compliance with top-down rules and requirements is considered more important than giving good care to the people who really matter?” asks John Burton, Head of the Association of Care Managers.

Compliance is not a good model in a service that should be focused on the unusual, interesting and at times challenging needs and demands of very individual people.

To be a good care home manager you must be able to empathise with individuals, and you are unlikely to prioritise compliance and form-filling over creative, caring relationships. Yet, no matter how good the care is, care homes become vulnerable if this superficial compliance is not regularly reported. What manager is going to admit to any non-compliance with the rules when doing so may result in punitive action from CQC and a loss of local-authority placements?

With CQC’s abandonment of real, on-the-ground inspection in favour of reliance on self-assessment to show compliance with “essential standards of quality and safety”, residents of care homes have been abandoned by the regulator.

At CARE LIVE (Plymouth on Tuesday January 18th) John Burton will be talking about the upside-down world of social care and calling for a return to local inspection that concentrates on the needs, rights, and wellbeing of residents.

The Association of Care Managers calls for a new approach to regulation and inspection of adult social care:
Prioritise the quality of care and the rights and safety of the people who use the services – this is the primary purpose of inspection
Inspect services as often as necessary but at least once a year
Inspectors should aim to prevent bad practice rather than to condemn it after it has occurred and after residents have suffered
Inspectors should be locally based and known – and accessible - to the public and users of the services
Inspection reports should be written for the public
Inspectors should work directly with residents and relatives, staff and managers of individual homes, NOT with the provider groups and organisations
Inspectors should respond to and investigate complaints, and be willing and available to visit the service without notice and at any time
Inspectors should understand how the services work and be willing and able (when appropriate) to help services to improve
People who use services should have a formal and influential voice in the assessment of care.

We believe all of this can be achieved without increasing inspection fees. However, it will mean a total reorganisation of the CQC, dismantling the centralised bureaucracy and grandiose management structure, and setting up local Healthwatch inspection teams employing independent inspectors who will be judged by - and paid by - results.

ACM supports the effective inspection of care services, concentrating on the rights, safety and wellbeing of those who use the services.

John Burton, Head of the Association of Care Managers
January 2011