Minister rejects call for criminal checks

Health minister Stephen Ladyman has dismissed calls for direct
payment users to be forced to subject employees to criminal checks,
saying this would undermine their independence.

Speaking at a conference on personalised care last week, he said
that while councils should offer to make protection of vulnerable
adults or Criminal Records Bureau checks for direct payments users,
these should not be compulsory.

He said: “People need to have the freedom to choose services
that are unregulated and unchecked. If we say [they can’t] we are
saying ‘we are still thinking for you’.”

But Lesley Bell, former chair of the joint advisory group on
domiciliary care, warned that “the government’s ambitions to extend
direct payments would put users at risk”.

“There needs to be some sort of check on the validity of the
people providing that care,” she said.

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