Ask Sheila - Archive England

Sheila Scott OBE has now retired and therefore is no longer available to answer your social care questions. However, you might still find the answer you’ve been searching for down below.

09th May 2016

Having a learning disability and going on holiday

We have a son with a severe learning disability living in residential care. This organisation have recently said that the CQC does not require them to take him on holiday. I have contacted the CQC and their answer is very vague referring to things like the care plan. They also say that if they take him on holiday he will have to pay for the additional care hours he is away. Can you advise us?

Dear Peter,

I am sorry for the delay. I had to ask our Learning Disability specialist Ginny Tyler for her comment and here it is:

This is an interesting one, from the point of view of how specific regulators are on the detail of care provision. CQC appear to have a broad brush approach to how the standards are interpreted so as not to compel providers to exactly deliver a level of service across the board. An example I am currently debating with them is what they mean by "sufficient staffing" since they will not commit to a truly measurable definition!

For this family, the same level of vagueness exists in that the care standards do not define the requirement for service users to enjoy an annual holiday. There is no clear mention of this at all in fact, and one is forced to look at the human rights angle to try to establish whether this fundamental social need is covered in regulation. It isn't, or at least, it is not specific.

I would therefore conclude that any responsibility to offer an annual holiday as part of an holistic care package should be enshrined in the individual contract of care between the provider and the client. Rather than being a requirement of the regulator, it should be a requirement of the care package. In this way, the cost of the holiday, including the additional staffing costs, would be incorporated in the overall care package fee.

In children's services, the standard national care contract does specify that holidays are provided.  I cannot locate a similar document in Adult care except in Scotland. It would be helpful to look at the individual agreement between the service user and the care provider to see if this is mentioned. The alternative best bet is to call them out on Human Rights grounds.

I'm sorry this is not particularly good news for the enquirer, but CQC are notoriously bad at issuing clear requirements!

With best wishes.


*All information is correct at the time of publishing.

About Sheila

Sheila Scott OBE has now retired and over the years , prior to her retirement she has answered thousands of your social questions. You can still access the many questions below.

For Sheila Scott OBE as the former CEO of National Care Association (NCA), care is Sheila's life. She possesses a strong command of the issues facing the care sector informed by her long career as a nursing professional, the owner and manager of a care business, and as a leader in the care sector.

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