The Care Quality Commission has admitted administrative mistakes have been made in its communications with care providers about registering with the regulator.
But despite the errors leading to delays in providers receiving notice on when to register, the regulator does not plan to offer any extension of deadlines to complete applications.
Delegates at yesterday’s National Care Forum conference questioned CQC director of registration Linda Hutchinson about why letters instructing them to register had not been directed to head offices, which would handle the applications.
Some letters had been sent directly to individual services, despite head office addresses being known to the CQC.
Hutchinson said: “We may not have done this the right way, it may have worked for some providers and not others.”
She said the problem lay with the computer systems inherited by the commission from its predecessor, the Commission for Social Care Inspection, adding: “Getting the information was not straightforward.”
The CQC must register all adult care providers by 1 October. Applications are being staggered with providers allotted a 28-day window in which to complete the process. The first calls to apply were issued earlier this month.
Hutchinson went on to say that the 28-day windows given to providers could not be changed by the CQC, and that those already called on to register should have no trouble meeting it.
She said: “Somebody registered within two hours. It doesn’t take four weeks. We want people to be prepared but we do not see that we will be extending deadlines at this stage.”
She said that providers with multiple services would find it more difficult to meet the 28-day deadline but they would be called to register later in the process.
Martin Green, chief executive of the English Community Care Association, said he expected the CQC to be flexible when they were to blame for delays. He said: “I’m sick of these large government organisations that have large amounts of public money put into them who are chaotic in the way that they manage things and expect the rest of the world to deal with their chaos.”
Green said that if he made mistakes as the leader of his organisation he would not expect members to have to deal with the consequences. He said that given the CQC had been in place for over a year, it could no longer blame errors on it being a new organisation.
Des Kelly, executive director of the National Care Forum, said he felt that deadlines should be extended where there were errors on the CQC’s part.
But he added: “With about 28,000 providers to be registered, if you gave the impression that the deadline was negotiable it would be anarchy.”