Too few CQC inspectors have completed training on the Mental Capacity Act, despite providers’ practice in this area being a key plank of the regulator’s inspection regime.
CQC chief executive David Behan admitted the number of inspectors completing training on the MCA was “disappointing” in papers presented at the regulator’s last board meeting.
Training shortfalls were also identified on the duty of candour requirement and the fit and proper persons test. Behan stressed the importance of addressing the gaps.
The CQC pledged to strengthen its focus on the Mental Capacity Act in its 2013-2016 strategy, which included the creation of a training academy for staff.
The strategy documents stated: “We will increase the level of training and guidance on mental capacity that we give to our frontline staff to strengthen the links between our assessment of providers’ practice under the Mental Capacity Act.”
The shortage of appropriately trained inspectors has also delayed adult social care inspections, the board papers revealed.
Figures provided to Community Care by the CQC showed the regulator was due to complete 16,378 comprehensive inspections by the end of February 2016, excluding follow-up visits. It fell short of this target by approximately 2000 inspections.
At a January board meeting, Andrea Sutcliffe, CQC’s chief inspector for social care, said meeting the inspections targets “remained a challenge”. She acknowledged that many newly appointed inspectors were still in training and unable to undertake the expected volume of inspections.
Kay Sheldon, a non-executive board member, suggested the inability of staff to meet all training requirements could be due to the “speed of organisational change” at the regulator.
Asked about the targets, Sutcliffe told Community Care the CQC was working to improve the situation and considering how the staff training academy could be better maintained.
She said: “We are reviewing our performance on a monthly basis in public so that we can identify and address the shortfall and ensure we are making the best use of available resources to drive forward our inspection work as efficiently and effectively as possible.”
The board report said other measures, such as using bank inspectors and reallocating inspections at a local level, were being employed to tackle the shortfall.
Martin Green, chief executive of provider organisation, Care England, said: “The CQC know that they will be judged against the benchmarks that they set for providers.
“We hope and expect that the CQC will be planning how to ensure inspectors are available in the numbers required and have the training required. People using care services deserve nothing less.”