The Care Act 2014 is an historic piece of legislation, not only because it includes the first overhaul of social care statute in England for more than 60 years, but also because of the collaborative nature of its passage through parliament. Coming into effect April 2015, the act brings care and support legislation together into a single act with a new wellbeing principle at its heart. It introduces major reforms to the legal framework for adult care and support in England – to the duties of local authorities, to the rights of those in need of care and support and their carers, and to the funding system for care and support and has been described as the start of a 10 year transformational programme for social care.
However, but not due to the Care Act, on the 1st April a new Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the Care Quality Commission, the Health and Safety Executive(HSE) and Local Authorities(LA’s) in England comes into play; this (MoU) applies to both health and adult social care in England. It comes into effect to reflect the new enforcement powers granted to the Care Quality Commission (CQC) by the The Health and Social Care Act 2008 (Regulated Activities) Regulations 2014.
Effectively the Care regulator will now undertake some of the investigatory/regulatory work currently been undertaken by the HSE or the LA’s. when an incident causing harm, injury or death occurs to a person who is receiving care and support.
NASHiCS, being accepting of the changes does have concerns that a knowledge base which currently exists may not be effectively transferred and shared with the CQC however well meaning current plans are. This may lead to some shortfalls with key aspects of safety not being identified as soon as they may have been, aswell as proposing suitable remedial actions to prevent harm and protect the service users. We call for a robust process on integration and sharing and are keen to support changes so they deliver a positive and safer outcome.
Chris Jackson is national chair of National Association for Safety and Health in Care Services (NASHiCS). A full-length feature on the UK’s care sector by Chris will be appearing in the upcoming May issue of SHP magazine.