The Care Quality Commission (CQC) has reported the loss of a number of Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) certificates relating to individuals who had applied to become registered managers and providers.
CQC has set out the actions it has taken to ensure those affected are informed and the action taken to prevent such an incident from happening again.
During a planned refurbishment of its office in Newcastle earlier this month, it appears that a locked filing cabinet containing up to 500 DBS certificates was wrongly marked for removal and destruction.
As soon as CQC became aware that the DBS files had been lost, it carried out a thorough and comprehensive investigation, has written to those affected, and it has reported the incident to the DBS authority, the Department of Health and the Information Commissioner’s Office.
In addition, CQC intends to commission an independent, external review of CQC’s security arrangements more generally.
David Behan, chief executive of the Care Quality Commission said: “I would like to apologise to the individuals whose DBS certificates have been lost during the recent refurbishment of our office in Newcastle and for any distress this may cause. I deeply regret that this has happened.
“As soon as we became aware of the loss of the files, we carried out a thorough internal investigation to find out exactly what happened and we alerted the relevant authorities, including the Information Commissioner’s Office.
“I intend to commission an independent, external review of CQC’s security arrangements in case wider lessons can be learned and so that we can be confident that something like this does not happen again.”
The ‘registered manager’ has responsibility for ensuring providers of health and adult social care in England meet the expected standards of quality and safety across their services. There are around 36,800 registered managers in England. CQC is required to request copies of DBS certificates from these individuals as part of its registration checks and it must approve all applications.
The incident affects those who had applied to become registered managers and providers between July 2015 and March 2016. CQC has used an online system since April 2016, which has removed the need for paper copies to be retained.