Care regulator issues updated guidance for providers

Kate Terroni appointed as chief inspector of adult social care
Kate Terroni, chief inspector for adult social care at the CQC

The care watchdog has revised its guidance on the regulation of services for autistic people and individuals with a learning disability. 

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) guidance, which has a stronger focus on outcomes, aims to make it clearer for providers that support autistic individuals and people with a learning disability.

The revised ‘Registering the right support’ document is not now called ‘Right support, right care, right culture’. It outlines three key factors the CQC expects providers to consider if they are, or want to care for autistic people or a person with a learning disability:

Right support says the model of care and setting should maximise people’s choice, control and independence, while care should be person-centred and promote dignity, privacy and human rights. Finally, right culture covers ethos, values, attitudes and behaviours of leaders and care staff.

Kate Terroni, CQC chief inspector of adult social care, said: ‘Our revised guidance makes clear that safeguarding people’s human rights must be at the heart of all care provided for autistic people and/or people with a learning disability.

‘We will only register and give a positive rating, to those services that can demonstrate high quality, person-centred care.’

The revised document sits alongside other standards including NICE guidance on the definition of ‘small’ services for autistic people with mental health conditions or behaviour that challenges. This says residential care should usually be provided in small, local community-based units of no more than six people and with well-supported single person accommodation.

However, the regulator said it has never applied a six-bed limit in its registration or inspection assessments and will continue to register based on care that is person-centred, and promotes choice, inclusion, control and independence.

While welcoming the redrafted guidance, Professor Martin Green, Care England chief executive, said more could be done to demonstrate the importance of evidence in the revised approach. ‘Care providers need to know that decisions made around the regulation of their services are evidence-based,’ he said.

While the guidance has been re-worked, Green said, the CQC’s policy on regulating and checking on providers that support autistic people and individuals with a learning disability has not changed.

In January, the representative body raised areas it felt draft guidance did not adequately address, including size of services, commissioning, use of case studies, and how CQC applies the policy.

It reiterated these issues through stakeholder meetings with CQC in advance of the final publication of its revised guidance.

Green added: ‘We implore CQC to adopt a greater degree of transparency with the sector as to their own approach. This will foster a dynamic process whereby providers are fully able to understand the basis upon which decisions regarding services are made.’