CQC has started to crackdown on services without a registered manager.
In CQC’s board meeting on 18 September 2013 the minutes stated that ‘DB gave an update on the action being taken to address locations operating without a registered manager. 3,900 locations had been identified as not having a registered manager, a quarter of which had been vacant for over two years. DB announced more robust action by issuing a fixed penalty notice which would focus initially on providers where active locations had been in breach of the condition for more than two years. Board members expressed shock that the number of locations without a registered manager was so high and urged the CQC to take a tough stance including closure for continued breach of conditions…’
In October’s board meeting, the ‘Board received an update on preparations being put in place for taking action against providers who were breach of a condition of registration. Providers have received a number of briefings and inspectors have had direct conversations with providers about the breach and the likely consequence. A project leader had been appointed to lead on the process for issuing Fixed Penalty Notices, which will begin, in a planned way, in late October/early November 2013.’
When a provider registers with CQC they have a duty to meet the requirements of their registration. Failure to have a registered manager, where this is required, without reasonable excuse is a breach of a condition of a provider’s registration and an offence under Section 33(b) of the Health and Social Care Act 2008.
What does this mean in practice?
We are starting to see that CQC is taking action against providers who are in breach of registration conditions.
Criminal action CQC can take includes a caution, fixed penalty notice, or prosecution:
- A caution – CQC will write to providers to inform them that they are non-complaint and an offence has been committed. A caution does not constitute grounds for a provider’s registration to be cancelled but it is kept on record and taken into account when CQC consider future enforcement action.
- A fixed penalty notice – CQC can issue fines of up to £4,000 for failure to comply with registration conditions.
- Prosecution – if the penalty notice is not paid CQC will consider the reasons why and decide whether to recommend proceeding towards a prosecution.
CQC are initially focusing on services which have not had a registered manager over the longest period of time (initially over two years – i.e. those least likely to have “reasonable excuse”, and with no application in the process of being considered).
Providers should alert CQC of any absence of a registered manager for more than six months at any given location. Providers also need to ensure that registered managers apply to cancel their registration when they cease employment and ensure that an application for a new registered manager is submitted to CQC promptly.