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24th March 2016

Cutting Red Tape – Review of Adult Social Care

abi-spenceIt is a pleasure to be writing my first blog on behalf of QCS.  I have spent the past 12+ years working for and with health and social care regulators and inspectorates. I look forward to sharing my perspective on all manner of things pertaining to this.

When I was asked to put cyber pen to pixelated paper, one particular review came to the fore; the very recent review of ‘Cutting Red Tape, Review of adult social care - residential and nursing home sector’ undertaken by the Cabinet Office and the government’s response to the report (you’ll find the link to this report at the end of the blog).

My husband and I have been moving our son’s bedroom into the loft these past few weeks.  In doing so, we have identified what is needed, what is unusable and those things we can do without. The objective is to focus on him, his needs and reduce the build-up of items collected over time which no longer serve a necessary purpose. On a number of occasions I shout out ‘why have we got 3 of these?!’ and ‘can you remember why we got this?’

We are determined that this room will not continue like the old, it will be clear of clutter and work better for it.  Unfortunately there are limitations, we work within the frame of the house, and what we can afford to replace with necessary furnishings.

Clearing out the clutter

I view, to a greater extent, a reflection of clearing our clutter in the Cutting Red Tape findings. The review is part of a series which concentrates on businesses engaging with government on how it can reduce unnecessary bureaucracy (10 million pounds worth).  Within the care sector, the review focuses on the duplication of different agencies in collecting information from providers, inspection and a clearer articulation of each role of public agencies in relation to providers.

Spending most of my working life employed by the regulator, I know it can be far too easy to react to requests by putting pen to paper and creating a policy in an attempt to ensure we secure the assurance needed that providers are complying with legislation. However, before making additions, it is also important to reflect on what is already in place and ask the questions ‘why have we got 3 of these?!’ and ‘why do we do this?’ and just as importantly to ask ‘is this our job? anyone else doing this?’.

It reminds me of the advertisement a number of years ago where a hole has been dug.  The gas men tell the electricians and waterboard, etc that they too can use the same hole rather than digging their own….a rare sight!

What does this mean for providers?

So what do I think this means for the provider?  Well, in a lot of ways, the fundamentals remain the same. The job you do is for the people you support rather than the regulator.  Policies, procedures and guidance should all work together to support good working models which benefit and support residents and staff. What I hope will come out of the review and the work with DH is less crossed wires between agencies and greater coordination. As has been heard within the review, will mean more time for providers to focus their efforts on quality improvement rather than entertaining a host of inspections and information requests which more or less ask for the same thing and take away valuable resource.

So here is to common sense and the hope of more communication and less duplication.

For more information about the review and the government response please go to

*All information is correct at the time of publishing. Use of this material is subject to your acceptance of our terms and conditions.

Abi Spence

Registration and Inspection Specialist

Abi has worked for and with Government agencies relevant to social care for the past 12+ years. Primarily with the Department of Health, Social Services Inspectorate, Commission for Social Care Inspection (CSCI) and since its inception the Care Quality Commission (CQC). As part of this long involvement Abi has developed a wide and detailed understanding of relevant issues and has worked closely with stakeholders such as people that use services, carers, providers, local government, the Department of Health, Ofsted and the Audit Commission. Read more

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