Consultation on Fit & Proper Person Regulations

Yesterday the Department of Health published its consultation response, ‘Strengthening Corporate Accountability in Health and Social Care: Consultation on the fit and proper person regulations’.

Following the DoH’s consultation on strengthening corporate accountability in July, the organisation decided that they needed to rebuild confidence in the health and social care system, following the Winterbourne View and Mid-Staffordshire scandals. To do this, they said a sharper focus on holding providers to account for failures in the care delivered, was needed.

New draft regulations will introduce a fit and proper person requirement (FPPR) for providers registered with CQC. Subject to Parliamentary approval, these will become part of the existing secondary legislation which sets requirements for registration with CQC.

This means that FPPR will be introduced alongside regulations regarding the registration requirements on fundamental standards and duty of candour. The DoH’s intention is to introduce those revised regulations to the same timetable in October 2014.

How will the revised FPPR work?

This section sets out how the DoH have decided the FPPR will operate in the light of the responses to the consultation. It sets out:

  • Further detail on the policy intention to use the FPPR, in response to the Francis Inquiry recommendations, to enable CQC to bar unfit directors from individual posts;
  • How the DoH plans to introduce similar changes for single traders and partnerships to ensure consistency;
  • What the test will cover;
  • How test is expected to work for providers;
  • How the test is expected to be applied by CQC, on registration and following notification of the appointment of a new director, or on inspection, or where there are concerns about quality;
  • The right of appeal for individual directors.

In summary, the new FPPR will:

  • Be focused on all Board directors (both executive and non-executive and including chairs) or their equivalents as well as single traders and the partners of a partnership in each sector;
  • Be based on a new CQC registration requirement that such persons be fit and proper persons;
  • The regulations will set out clear criteria for deeming persons to be unfit to be a director;
  • The responsibility for ensuring individuals are fit and proper will lie with the organisation and guidance will recommend that appointments be signed off by the chair of the provider;
  • CQC will assess fitness on initial registration and could refuse to register a provider if they thought that a director was unfit;
  • CQC could impose a condition to require the removal of an unfit director following inspection or where they were notified of a new appointment;
  • Failure to comply with such a condition for an existing provider could lead to enforcement action by CQC including cancellation of registration or prosecution.

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