Privatisation feared

The Department of Health has denied that it is planning to
privatise social services inspection units.

Rumours that it was considering the move prompted Heather Wing,
chairperson of the National Association of Inspection and
Registration Officers, to write to health ministers asking for a
policy statement.

Anna Chester, officer at NAIRO, said: ‘This sort of thing always
surfaces in the recess, when there is no opportunity to question on
the floor of the house. We’re very concerned.’

This summer’s planned review of inspection units – which each
local authority has to set them up to check standards of care
providers – would be the proper forum for debate, she said.

NAIRO argued that the important elements were quality of
inspection, and ensuring the same rules for statutory and voluntary

The matter of who ran the units was secondary, said Chester.

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