28th April 2017

Regulation and Inspection of Social Care (Wales) Act 2016 (RISCA)

The RISCA will be introducing defined responsibilities for providers, responsible individuals (RI) and managers. At one time the thinking was that the Act was going to establish the responsibilities of the provider and the responsible individual and anything else was the manager’s liability! This, with the new team, may be subject to a rethink. What is certain is that the RI can be registered for with homes they can be able to check on frequently. The national corporates with 300 homes across the country will have to change their ways in Wales. The RI will also have to show that they have access directly to the board. See from clause 21 of the Act.

Wales, unlike England, is dominated by small providers of small homes often single homes whilst in England, larger homes seem to have a much greater impact. When I sat on the Financial Situation Group, the Welsh Government set up after the Southern Cross crisis, it became apparent that large groups failing caused problems for national governments, whilst large homes in particular areas were not so much a problem for national government but only a problem for local government. Section 5 of RISCA will deal with this aspect and it will only be decided in 2019 after long consultation with the experience in England and CSSIW and CQC are liaising on this according to the Minister.

Where will the commissioners of local authorities and health boards fit into this jigsaw of protecting vulnerable people? In many instances, there is a greater sharing of information by nurse assessors, local authority contract monitors and CSSIW inspectors, however, at the present time, this appears to be very patchy. Some local authorities and health boards are reviewing their contracts with providers at the moment as a result of the Older People’s commissioner for Wales review of the Jasmine enquiry. In my area, we have been working together with regard to the redrafting of the contract only to find that we are frustrated in not knowing how the final RISCA regulations will impact. It has been decided to refer back to the commissioner to ask for a postponement of our obligation to complete this work until we know what other pieces of the jigsaw are available.

The proposed alteration by the Law Commission with the abolition of the Deprivation of Liberties Safeguards and replacement by Liberty Protection Safeguards will also impact. At first look at the proposals, it appears that the backlog with local authorities will be wiped out and the onus on providers will increase with a system in place for independent verification by other members of staff. Is this another attempt to move the responsibility from government to provider so that if anything goes wrong it is not the regulator but the provider to be hung out to dry. Time will tell and a story for another day.

*All information is correct at the time of publishing

Mike Kemp

Welsh Regulation Specialist

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