- Charity calls on government to reinstate powers for care watchdog to check council commissioning without needing approval from ministers.
- Disabled and older people could be put at risk if no action is taken, warns charity.
- The vast majority (85%) of councillors surveyed by Leonard Cheshire Disability think the Care Quality Commission (CQC) should have powers to review council commissioning.
Leading charity Leonard Cheshire Disability is urging MPs to reinstate powers for the Care Quality Commission to protect disabled and older people. The government has proposed that the CQC should only be able to inspect council commissioning arrangements with the approval of both the Secretary of State for Health and the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government.
The government had initially proposed powers for the Care Quality Commission — the watchdog that oversees social care and health — to conduct regular check-ups on the way councils commission residential and home care for disabled and older people.
Despite the widespread alarm about the scale of flying 15-minute care visits, the government amended the Care Bill to limit the ability of the care watchdog to challenge poor care commissioning by local authorities.
As the Care Bill debate reaches its final stages in the House of Commons, the charity reveals that 85% of councillors surveyed agree that the care regulator should be able to check council commissioning.
Leonard Cheshire Disability’s managing director of engagement and campaigns, Jane Harris, said: ‘Millions of people rely on councils to buy the right care for them at the right time. If councils get this wrong, people can be left unable to wash, eat, dress or go to the loo. We need the Care Quality Commission to be able to check how well councils are performing their duties whenever there is a problem. Telling the care watchdog to wait for approval from two Secretaries of State before taking action is irresponsible and will put vulnerable people at risk.
‘We are shocked that the government changed their initial plans to give the CQC the muscle to step in when standards fall. Councils are facing increasing pressures on tight budgets so it is vital decisions can be examined.
‘Our recent research shows that the vast majority of councils themselves want the CQC to have these powers, so there is every reason for MPs to act now.’