Inspections by CQC are part and parcel of a provider’s operation. Sometimes they can be unexpected and challenging. They can be undertaken in conjunction with other regulators such as the Health and Safety Executive or the police and this can involve staff and service users being interviewed and documents seized. This can put providers under immense pressure, not only managing the inspection itself but also continuing the day-to-day running of the service. This can put staff under pressure and disrupt daily operation.
Ridouts are experienced solicitors able to advise on how to handle inspections and on the powers and limitations of CQC. Ridouts can attend such inspections at short notice to shadow inspectors and make sure the regulators act within the constraints of their legal remit.
CQC publish inspection reports which, if inaccurate and unfair, not only make grim reading, but can also adversely affect a home’s reputation and ability to attract clients.
At Ridouts we have vast experience of drafting balanced, well evidenced comments on compliance reviews that are effective in securing amendments and improvements on the initial draft report. We also negotiate with CQC and support our clients in meetings with the regulator.
CQC have extensive enforcement powers. It can cancel or suspend your registration, impose registration conditions (which can include prohibiting further admissions) and prosecute you for regulatory failures, amongst other things. Businesses can be lost.
Ridouts has an enviable success rate challenging CQC’s proposals and decisions both at the representation stage and on appeal to the Tribunal. If we are approached early enough, the costs can be relatively modest but we are able to help clients effectively at any stage of the process.
Purchasers can impose suspensions of further placements, remove their residents and initiate safeguarding investigations which often become entrenched and can lead to findings that providers have abused those in their care. In such cases the hosting authority may make recommendations to other placing authorities to remove their service users. Safeguarding investigations can quickly drain good morale. Without adequate legal representation, providers can find themselves subject to investigations which are fundamentally unfair.
Ridouts frequently advises providers facing safeguarding investigations. We work hard to secure early and full disclosure of allegations and help providers respond to them. We put pressure on authorities to carry out investigations fairly and swiftly. Our clients frequently comment that our attendance at meetings softens the aggression they often face at case conferences.
Tightening public sector budgets have led to attempts by many departments to try to save money at the expense of providers. Commissioners are increasingly carrying out their own contract monitoring which duplicates CQC’s regulatory function. This is often carried out in a way which is disproportionate and can lead to cancellations of contracts and the removal of residents.
Ridouts has been successful at challenging commissioners’ attempts to reduce fees without the agreement of providers. Where local authorities have sought to cancel their contracts with providers and remove residents, Ridouts has helped the residents to secure their own legal representation in order to successfully challenge the decisions in conjunction with the providers.
It’s not all about bricks and mortar. All health and social care businesses are subject to regulation. They all have contracts and multi-stakeholder interest. There are many aspects to a business which can be looked at to assess the health and true value of the business.
Due to Ridouts’ unique expertise, no firm is better placed to advise on regulatory due diligence whether it be a share or asset acquisition or divestment. Even before information is collated for disclosure Ridouts can help prepare a business for sale. Ridouts will be able to spot issues which may cause concern for purchasers and either manage those issues to eliminate the problems or prepare an explanation which should comfort purchasers. Issues identified and explored are always less troublesome than those which purchasers find and believe to have been concealed. We also act for purchasers helping to identify any regulatory issues that may affect the true value of the business and consequently the appropriate purchase price.