Welsh consultation on the future of regulation and inspection

A consultation by the Welsh Government is currently open titled ‘The Future of Regulation and Inspection of Care and Support in Wales’.  The changes outlined in the White Paper will support the proposals in the Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Bill.

The Welsh Government say they intend build a responsive and sustainable system with citizens’ voices at the heart of care and support.  To achieve this they are making radical changes to their regulation and inspection regime.  The White Paper focuses on the regulation and inspection of the workforce and services in Wales that deliver care and support.  It also covers how those charged with that regulation can work to support improvement across the sector, with a focus on area and workforce development.

Two important changes mentioned in the White Paper relate to registration and enforcement action.

Time Limited Registration

The White Paper suggests the regulator should have the power to impose time limited registration on services where they deem this is required.  It is suggested that all service providers should regularly demonstrate their fitness to practice through the introduction of a system of annual reports and inspections.  This opens up the scope for self-regulation by service providers themselves, with the regulator then carrying out inspections to verify the information provided in the reports.  It is suggested that time limited registrations may be used to secure improvements following inspections that raised concerns or where the provider had failed to comply with requirements.

There is currently no real clarity about how time limited registrations will be imposed.  It will be interesting to see whether there were any limitations on the proposed time periods and what type of mechanism to re-register a service will be imposed.

Deferred Enforcement

In relation to care home closures, the White Paper explores the potential of giving the courts the power to ‘suspend’ or ‘stay’ orders cancelling registration for a short period of time.  This is intended to allow time for safe and appropriate transitional arrangements to relocate residents to be put in place.  It will be interesting to see how this will work in practice.  One possible consideration could be to allow an overriding right for either the local authority or another provider to go into the service and take over during the stay.  This could potentially ensure limited disruption to service users and guarantee the continuation of the service thus benefitting the local community.

If you have any objections or comments to the White Paper you have the opportunity to submit your responses to the questions posed on or before the closing date of on 6 January 2014.

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