19 December 2014

It’s that time of year again, as sure as the unveiling of the John Lewis Christmas ad, the first Christmas card arriving and being offered your first mince pie comes that seasonal favourite – the CQC consultation on fees.

We’ve had a lot of CQC consultations in recent months, mostly feeling very positive about working together to raise standards. And it is good that CQC have been acknowledging that it is not only providers who need to improve and meet standards but that CQC themselves, as the regulator, need to be providing high quality inspections that are consistent, fair and recognise excellence as well a poor practice. But as traditional as a brandy-soaked Christmas pudding, is CQC ‘consulting’ on a rise in fees. This year the recommendation is a particularly scrooge like 9%. Yes that’s a 9% increase for us to pay toward a regime of inspection that itself is struggling to be high quality.

When providers are together there are always some frustrating stories to be told about the latest inspection. David Behan, Chief Executive of CQC, set out earlier in the year the importance for CQC to be independent, accountable and trusted. Unfortunately wanton fee rises don’t help. As in previous years’ consultations, CQC describes the rationale for the rise to be the need to move towards full cost recovery.  But the contribution some sectors make is nearer full cost recovery than others and this is the case for social care. Because of the failings in hospitals it also the case that CQC are targeting more and longer inspections at health, meaning that the burden is disproportionate to smaller social care providers. We will be making our feelings known in our response to the consultation and alongside some of our partners including the Care Provider Alliance. But it all seems very Bah Humbug to me. We would love to hear the views of our members on this issue so please get in touch.

But, I want to end on a cheerier note as the last blog of 2014 (and my first blog for ARC). In this edition of Real People there is a whole panoply of delights that we are offering for 2015 including training, conferences and seminars. So every good wish for you and the people you support for Christmas and the New Year and from all of us at ARC we look forward to working with you in 2015.

Anthea Sully,
Interim CEO