Regulator’s approach to fees is damaging good care

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The Care Quality Commission (CQC) has announced an increase in the fees charged to providers. The Voluntary Organisations Disability Group (VODG) strongly opposes this measure.

VODG chief executive, Professor Rhidian Hughes said:

“Alongside CQC’s strategy consultation this latest announcement does little to strengthen the regulator’s commitment to efficiency and cost control. The sector cannot withstand further financial pressures, and the fee increase represents a very significant additional burden on services”.

“The outcome of CQC’s statutory consultation seems to have been ignored and the announcement comes just days before the new fees come into force. This is no way to regulate the sector”.

Social care providers are handing contracts back to local authorities because of the growing chasm between the cost of delivering high quality care and the price local authorities are prepared to pay. Five years of funding reductions total £4.66 billion, which represent cuts of 31% in real term net budgets for adult social care1.

In this context, the health and adult social care regulator, the CQC, will increase its charges to social care providers over a two year period (with the exception of home care). Underpinning today’s announcement is an approach by the regulator aiming to fully recover its costs through charges. This approach fails to recognise that regulation is in the public interest and therefore should be jointly funded, both by the public purse and by providers. CQC is currently rating only 4% of adult social care services as “inadequate”. This means 96% of the adult social care market are cross-subsidising 4% of the worst performers.