The City of London Police today arrested an ex-employee of the Care Quality Commission, as part of an ongoing investigation concerning allegations that proprietors of care homes were being pressurised into paying fees for favourable inspection reports.
In an early morning operation, a 43 year-old woman was arrested by detectives at her home in Northamptonshire on suspicion of bribery and money laundering. She is currently being questioned at a local police station.
The force, which is the police service lead for economic crime, is now appealing to anyone working within the care home industry who has experienced similar circumstances to contact the Care Quality Commission on 03000 616161 and report their concerns.
DI James Clancey, from the City of London Police, said: “We are working closely with CQC to thoroughly investigate these allegations. We are appealing with to anyone who may have information linked to these allegations to come forward”.
The Care Quality Commission commented;
A CQC inspector has been dismissed for gross misconduct after an internal investigation revealed that the impartiality of their regulatory judgements had been seriously compromised. This came to light as a result of whistle-blowing information to the CQC.
No additional detail can be provided as CQC has now referred this matter to the police.
Louise Guss, Director of Governance and Legal Services, said:
“Our inspectors operate to extremely high standards of integrity and professionalism. Unfortunately, in any large workforce there is a risk that a tiny minority may act in a way that betrays the principles of their colleagues and of the organisation as a whole, which is what has happened here.
“Having investigated allegations made to us about this inspector and found these were substantiated, we terminated their employment with immediate effect and referred the matter to the police.
“This inspector has failed the organisation, failed the providers who rely on us to act fairly and impartially, and – most importantly – failed in their responsibility to protect people who use services through identification of poor care.
“CQC operates a zero tolerance policy in regard to fraudulent or dishonest behaviour. As this case makes clear, we take any credible allegations relating to this behaviour extremely seriously and, following a full investigation, will take the swiftest and most severe action possible against any member of staff found guilty.”
If any care providers have concerns about the behaviour of a CQC inspector – or someone purporting to be a CQC inspector – please call 03000 616161 to discuss these concerns.