Service users may be placed at risk under inspection plans

Older people’s groups have warned that proposals to
radically cut the inspection burden on good care providers may
leave users at risk, writes Mithran

Age Concern and Help the Aged said Commission for Social Care
Inspection plans to comprehensively inspect top providers as little
as once every three years could leave problems unexposed.

Stephen Lowe, social care policy adviser at Age Concern, said:
“It seems quite risky to think about leaving services for two
to three years.”

CSCI has said good providers will still be subject to
“random” and “themed” inspections on
elements of their services, which it claimed would stop them
getting complacent.

But Lowe added: “Random or themed inspections may not be
enough. They would be too narrow to catch potential

Annie Stevenson, senior policy adviser at Help the Aged, backed
the principle of CSCI’s reforms – to make inspection
proportionate to risk – but said leaving services for three
years was too long.

She said: “From a user’s point of view and a
relative’s point of view they would feel more confident if
there was no sense of dilution and watering down [of inspection].
Good providers can miss important things.”

Both questioned the potential of the market to promote quality
in care services in the absence of inspection, saying users lacked
the consumer power to influence providers.

Stevenson added: “It’s a false market. Older people
are powerless as consumers.”


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