Challenging Warning Notices & Fixed Penalty Notices

The CQC can serve notices about a health and social care service’s previous failures to comply with legal requirements or about continuing non-compliance.

Warning Notices, and to a lesser degree Fixed Penalty Notices, are often the first formal enforcement option used by the CQC. CQC prosecutions can attract fines of up to £50,000 per offence.The CQC has the power to publish information about Warning Notices and it does so routinely. Providers are given the opportunity to make representations about why a Warning Notice should be withdrawn or not be published. It is essential that providers challenge any Notices that they consider defective, either because they are based on erroneous judgments or because the process was unfair or disproportionate.

CQC will rely on any failure to challenge the Notices as evidence that the provider acknowledges the appropriateness of the enforcement action.
CQC can issue Fixed Penalty Notices where a health and social care provider has failed, amongst other reasons, to comply with relevant legislation. Examples include where a service does not have a registered manager or where it has failed to make relevant notifications as per the Regulations. Each individual breach can attract a fine of up to £4000, which can escalate.

In respect of Penalty Notices, CQC has a duty to publish information once the fee has been paid. Local press often report on stories generated by CQC’s press releases and the reputational damage publication of these Notices can do is significant.

However, the Ridouts team of specialist lawyers can help, with bespoke legal advice tailored to your situation.

Services include:

  • Challenging the accuracy of any Warning Notice or Fixed Penalty Notice issued to a health and social care provider by a regulator;
  • Making submissions as to the public interest value in publication of any notice;
  • Supporting Clients with advice on how to manage the public relations issues relating to press interest in a notice; and
  • Drafting representations as to the validity of fixed penalty notices using documentary evidence and any mitigating factors.

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