Social care providers’ excellence award to be ditched

The government is to drop the planned excellence award for social care providers after it was universally rejected by the sector. Care Quality Commission chair Jo Williams (pictured) has said that she saw no prospect of the scheme going ahead.

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The government is to drop the planned excellence award for social care providers after it was universally rejected by the sector.

Care Quality Commission chair Jo Williams said that she saw no prospect of the scheme going ahead after it had receievd a “universal thumbs down” by providers’ bodies and organisations such as the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services in a CQC consultation that closed last month.

She told the National Care Association conference: “It’s clear yourselves and others have said it’s not going to work and it doesn’t add value. We put all the results of our consultation to the Department of Health and while we’ve not had a formal response I saw the minister [Paul Burstow] and he understands it’s a universal thumbs down so I can’t see it happening. The climate isn’t there because everyone is saying it won’t deliver the goods.”

Opposition to the scheme centres on the following concerns:

● That applications for the award would be voluntary, meaning there was no marker of quality to distinguish those that did not apply.

● There were no gradations of quality for judging providers below “excellent”.

● The scheme would be outsourced to multiple providers by CQC, resulting in inconsistency.

● Providers would have to pay to apply.

Responding to the announcement, Sheila Scott, chief executive of the NCA, said: “We believe this was a triumph of common sense. We would like to work together to find a way forward to demonstrate quality service provision.” “The National Care Association has always said it’s the wrong scheme at the wrong time, particularly in terms of the financial constraints.”

A Department of Health spokesperson said: “We are committed to the development of a scheme that helps people choose between providers, recognises quality beyond the essential standards and encourages quality improvement by providers. Responses to the consultation will now be carefully considered to ensure that any new scheme meets these objectives and has the support of the sector.”

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