‘Promoting social care will be harder’ after care inspection body is merged

Social care leaders will have to redouble their efforts to
represent the sector because of the government’s decision to
dismantle the Commission for Social Care Inspection.

That was the verdict of CSCI chief inspector David Behan, after
chancellor Gordon Brown announced Ofsted would take over its
children’s function and its adult function would be merged with the
Healthcare Commission by 2008.

Behan said the absence of a single social services inspectorate
increased the importance of the role of the director of social
care, Kathryn Hudson, in the Department of Health.

He added: “It increases the need for organisations such as the
British Association of Social Workers to represent that voice of
social work.”

His comments reflect serious concerns that the CSCI’s social care
focus will be subordinated to education and health in the new
integrated inspectorates.

The proposals, announced in the budget, come despite two major
reorganisations of social care regulation in the past three

The CSCI was launched 11 months ago, replacing the Social Services
Inspectorate and the National Care Standards Commission, which
itself had been set up only in April 2002.

The new proposal was lambasted by the Care Regulators Association,
which represents inspectors.

Chief executive Diana Gordon said: “The government seems to be
ignoring the importance of the social model of care in favour of
political ideologies and systems which are reducing public social
services to a marketplace of commodities.”

Behan said: “It’s very difficult for [staff]. We obviously have a
big job to work with staff to address that [uncertainty].”

The move is part of wider plans to combine 11 public service
inspectorates into four super-regulators, as part of its efficiency
Under the plan, the Audit Commission will absorb the Benefits Fraud
Inspectorate to form a single local services regulator, and the
Prisons Inspectorate will be merged with four other bodies to
create a combined criminal justice regulator.

This week, the Department of Health announced it had saved more
than £150m from its arm’s-length bodies review.

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