Woman fined £12k for running West Yorkshire care agency illegally

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A woman who ran a Morley-based domiciliary care agency has been ordered to pay over £12,000 after she admitted to providing care illegally.

Beverley Bevis was fined £1,500 at Leeds Magistrates’ Court on Thursday, 7 January 2021. She was also ordered to pay £10,380.91 costs and a £170 victim surcharge as a result of the prosecution brought by the Care Quality Commission (CQC).

Prior to her sentencing, Mrs Bevis pleaded guilty to providing a regulated activity – personal care – in people’s own homes through her company, Five Star Homecare Leeds Ltd, without CQC registration. This is a criminal offence.

Personal care includes assisting people to eat and drink, dress, bathe and use the toilet.

CQC brought the prosecution after it received feedback, in September 2018, from a relative of a person who used Five Star Homecare.

At this time, Mrs Bevis had not registered Five Star Homecare with CQC.

This prompted CQC to begin investigating the company, and inspectors visited its Morley premises, unannounced, three weeks later, in October 2018.

On arrival, they found a large window sticker advertising personal care. It falsely stated that the firm was CQC-approved. 

Inspectors also found evidence that the company had 23 staff providing personal care to at least seven people. They also saw staff time sheets and invoices demonstrating that it had been operating illegally.  

In April 2020, Five Star Homecare successfully applied for CQC registration – following a robust process – meaning it can now provide a lawful service.

The service was inspected in November 2020 and rated Requires Improvement. CQC continues to monitor it, including through future inspections, to ensure people’s safety. 

Although CQC understands that Mrs Bevis retains involvement with the company, she is not responsible for supervising its regulated activity.

Joyce Frederick, CQC’s deputy chief inspector of registration, said: “It is unacceptable that Beverley Bevis risked people’s safety by running a care service without the benefit of CQC registration, so I welcome her guilty plea.

“The registration process is important to appropriately assess services before they care for people. Services are then monitored and inspected to ensure that they continue to meet standards that people should be able to expect.

“Unregistered services operate without oversight, putting people at risk of harm.

“Monitoring of domiciliary care agencies is especially important, as people who receive care in their own homes can be particularly vulnerable because of their circumstances. 

Health and social care services providing regulated activities, including personal care, are required under section 10 of the Health and Social Care Act 2008 to register with CQC. This means they can be monitored to ensure people’s safety.

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