Are you heading for a fine under the new enforcement rules for non-compliance with the capacity tracker? Hopefully not.
I have long made my view on the capacity tracker clear and my dislike for how it’s now being used, but it is now becoming clear about the scale of fines that can be given out to providers. Although, it does make me wonder if this is just another way of making money out of an already cash strapped provider system.
Last year the government announced that all adult social care providers regulated by the CQC could face fines for not completing the tracker and it would release further details. These have now arrived via: Adult social care provider information provisions: guidance for providers on data enforcement
How could care providers be fined?
The DHSC guidance makes it clear that any action taken will take place over a number of months. Enforcement resulting in any financial penalties will normally be a last resort as a result of providers:
- Not making adequate attempts to comply with requirements to provide information
- Providing false or misleading information
- Failing to provide information required despite multiple offers of support
The enforcement process will follow a 4-stage approach from first breach to a final notice and the issuing of a financial penalty. Providers will receive a notice of intent which will offer them the opportunity to make representation within 14 days of receiving a notice of intent.
Any representation submitted will be subject to panel review and a decision on whether to proceed with enforcement action will be made within 28 days. It does not end here, as a final notice will then be issued with a right to appeal to a tribunal.
Fines are expected to be at the same rate as a provider’s registration fee. It is important to note that data is currently required to be provided monthly and each time this requirement is breached, a fine could be imposed. In effect if your internal governance process means that your data is routinely not provided you could face, in the extreme, 12 fines a year.
If you are still one of those services that is not completing your capacity tracker on a regular basis now is the time you really must instil it into your systems.
The risk of any financial penalties can be significant to any provider right now. On top of the risk that may also raise your profile amongst regulators and commissioners alike and it could also affect your business reputation and financial viability.
So, ask yourself this question: ‘Can you really afford not to comply?’
NHS: The Capacity Tracker