The Care Quality Commission is to outsource delivery of its new care ratings system to several accreditation bodies to give providers a choice of schemes to measure themselves against, it said today.
Under the plans to replace the defunct quality ratings system, the regulator said it would commission a number of organisations to deliver parallel “excellence awards” to recognise the best providers.
The news comes amid concerns over the abolition of quality ratings last October without a replacement. The Association of Directors of Adult Social Services has warned that the new system, to be launched in April 2012, would place providers under less scrutiny than the one it replaced.
The old quality ratings applied to all registered providers and provided a single system for assessing them as poor, adequate, good or excellent, delivered by one body, the CQC. It will be replaced by several schemes, delivered by multiple bodies, and be voluntary for providers. It will accredit only those deemed to be excellent, rather than provide a graded scale for performance.
Providers will also be charged for the scheme, over and above the regulatory fees they pay, which themselves will controversially rise by £6m in 2011-12.
The CQC is now seeking expressions of interests to run the excellence award schemes from organisations that have a “record of delivering audit or inspection programmes as well as knowledge of the social care sector”. The tender process will start in April.
It will consult in May on the nature of the awards, including the definition of excellence and the make-up of the assessment process.
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