Groups sound alarm on inspection plans

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

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 risky to think about leaving services for two to three

The CSCI has said that to prevent complacency good providers would
still be subject to “random” and “themed” inspections on elements
of their services.

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

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

She said: “Users and relatives 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.

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