Focus on poor providers is bringing benefits, says new commission boss

The new head of the Commission for Social Care Inspection claims the organisation’s increasing focus on poor-performing adults’ services has already produced positive results. Paul Snell (pictured) said CSCI’s new “light touch” inspection regime (see New inspection regime) for adults’ services, under which good providers could be inspected only once every three years, had allowed the commission to fully inspect all poor providers in the first quarter of 2006-7, and a “significant number” of them were now showing signs of improvement.

Snell defended the reduction in the frequency of inspection for good providers, saying the new system gave CSCI “a better bang for our buck”.

And he also claimed poor providers would face action “with a hard edge” from the commission. Although the number of enforcement actions against care providers by the commission fell by 18 per cent in 2005-6, the CSCI issued more statutory
notices than in 2004-5. “When we found things were not right we were clear about it and followed it through,” said Snell, who became CSCI’s chief inspector earlier this month, replacing David Behan.

Snell also said the abuse of people with learning difficulties in Cornwall highlighted the “importance of regulation and inspection” because settings where abuse took place were not registered as care homes. “Had they been registered and had we inspected them, I don’t think Cornwall would have happened as it did,” he said.

Snell said CSCI was “mindful” of providers’ concerns over the consistency of inspections but added the commission was addressing this through staff training.

New inspection regime

● CSCI previously inspected most adults’ services at least twice a year, but from April 2006 this changed so every service is inspected at least once every three years.
● It has replaced announced inspections with unannounced visits and is carrying out random and themed inspections.
● More information from

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