The report Cutting Red Tape-Review of adult social care – residential and nursing home sector took evidence from those working in the sector about their experiences of regulation and how it is enforced. It found that while relationships between regulators and providers were generally positive and professional, with examples given of good practice, there was an overwhelming concern about the duplication of inspections and information requests and a widely expressed concern that this was taking providers away from the delivery of front line care.
Respondents clearly saw the need for a robust regulatory system to underpin high quality provision and to ensure the safety of residents. However, there was a clear sense that things could work better; and a strong appetite to work together to improve the way in which regulation and contract management is implemented. The response to the review recognises this desire and seeks to build on it – to develop a more coordinated, targeted and proportionate approach.
The work was led by DH in partnership with the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) and key public bodies in the sector such as the Local Government Association (LGA), the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services (ADASS), Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) and the Care Quality Commission (CQC).
Care England has welcomed the report and commends BIS for conducting the review and maintaining a focus on this important issue. Care homes do incredibly important work and the system must work to support care home staff in delivering a person centred care service.
Professor Martin Green OBE said:
“An effective regulatory and monitoring system is vital and recognises and rewards good care, but at the heart of this must be a balance that allows staff to do their jobs and build up caring and respectful relationships with residents. Duplicate information requests, and numerous visits from agencies that don’t share their information, adds to the workload. Many local authorities and CCGs, who all purchase care from the same homes, must align their contracts and monitoring activity.”
“We need to use every penny effectively and that means as much as possible must go to frontline care. We cannot keep re-examining this issue. We want to see action from the government and statutory agencies to work with providers on tackling duplication and unnecessary paperwork to ensure we do not lose sight of our primary reason for doing the work we do – to care for the person.”
The Voluntary Organisations Disability Group has also welcomed the Government’s commitment to cut red tape in social care.
VODG chief executive Rhidian Hughes says:
“This welcomed review will help drive resources to further improve frontline services. We are pleased Government has identified inefficient processes and duplications that get in the way of frontline delivery. By removing unnecessary bureaucracy, providers will be able to focus more of their efforts on quality improvement”.
Professor Hughes adds:
“Whilst the focus of this review is on care homes, we also want the lessons to be applied across the system to other areas of regulated provision. Steps need to be taken to deliver lean and business-like services. The benefits of information technology, for example, must be harnessed more effectively”.
“The review proposes positive steps for supporting the delivery of quality care. To make sure this vital outcome is indeed enabled we must all work together, and ensure that further barriers are overcome”.