Care Quality Commission chief executive Cynthia Bower answers concerns raised by Commission for Social Care Inspection chair Denise Platt that the new regulator, which starts work today, will be dominated by health.
How will you prevent the CQC’s priorities being dominated by healthcare?
“I don’t want to trivialise what’s an important question. But I’m confident that we have the people in the organisation who have the passion [for working across health and social care], including the chair, Barbara Young.”
Do you have enough social care expertise within the organisation?
“The firstline managers are all from social care. The levels above firstline are even between health and social care. There are people from the Healthcare Commission who have led on learning disability and have a real passion for working across health and social care. At executive director level, there’s me, three people who have come from the Healthcare Commission and someone from outside health and social care. We have three vacancies and the biggest job left to fill is director of operations. I will do my absolute best to see that we get someone from social care for that. The two deputy directors of operations are from a social care background, as is my chief of staff. There’s a lot of social care expertise at senior management level.”
How will you maintain the CSCI’s focus on user involvement?
“Our statement on user involvement, which we have just consulted on, will be published soon. What you will see is a commitment beginning at board level to have users engaged in everything we do. We will be continuing with the CSCI’s Experts by Experience programme (which involves service users in carrying out inspections). Our work on user involvement will be led by Frances Hasler, the CSCI’s head of user involvement. It seems right that she should lead given the emphasis the CSCI has placed on user involvement.”
Will you be independent from the Department of Health?
“I’m absolutely confident about our independence. That comes from having very strong commissioners and a very strong chair in Barbara. The DH knows it needs a strong and independent regulator. We give reassurance to the public in a way that no one can.”