February 13, 2020 Legal

How CQC is compounding the factors which have led to the Government facing legal action over failing people with learning disabilities and autism

 

The Government is now facing legal action over its repeated failure to move people with learning disabilities and autism into appropriate accommodation. Yesterday, the Equality and Human Rights Commission issued a pre-action letter to the Secretary of State for Health arguing that the DHSC has breached the ECHR for failing to meet the targets set in the transforming care agenda and the building the right support programme. https://equalityhumanrights.com/en/our-work/news/health-secretary-faces-legal-challenge-failing-patients-learning-disabilities-and

We have repeatedly written about the part that the CQC has to play in the failure to implement the Transforming Care Agenda by its failure or delay in registering new services for people with learning disabilities and autism through its rigid application of its Registering the Right Support guidance.

This failure or delay by CQC to register new services does not just apply to Providers seeking to register new residential care services (which CQC may perceive to fall outwith the desired national model). We have also seen multiple examples where CQC have proposed to refuse to register new, purpose built, community based supported living services for people with learning disabilities and autism which would fall squarely into the type of accommodation sought to further the transforming care agenda, often for spurious or legally incorrect reasons. This is notwithstanding the fact that CQC does not even regulate the accommodation element of supported living, only the regulated activity of personal care. Whilst, after representations are made, ultimately some of these services are then being registered, the delay, uncertainty and expense occasioned in the process is actively deterring investment and development in the sector and is a real contributing factor to why there is not suitable community provision available for this service user group.

The CQC must get its house in order and engage with these applications in a rational and timely way and stop becoming a bottleneck for registration of much needed community provision. A failure to do so is continuing to compound the failure to deliver the targets set in the transforming care agenda.

Unfortunately CQCs draft update to its Registering the Right support Guidance appears to suggest that numerous barriers to registration for providers seeking to develop much needed service provision in this area will persist and it appears they wish to focus further on trying to regulate all aspects of supported living and not just the care element.

The consultation on this draft update to the guidance closes on 13 February 2020 and can be accessed here https://cqc.citizenlab.co/en-GB/

Laura Paton
Associate Solictor
Ridouts
0207 317 0340

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