Memorandum submitted by CSCI (H&SC 21 - i)
As you know the Commission for Social Care Inspection gave evidence to the Health and Social Care Bill Committee yesterday (8th January 2008).
I am writing to you to correct an impression that may have been given about the Commission's public position in relation to the merger with the Healthcare Commission and the Mental Health Act Commission that the Bill currently envisages.
In Committee the Minister, Mr Bradshaw, alluded to a press release issued by the Commission and asked us (at Col 5 of the Report) whether we were departing from, in his words, our "principled welcome to the Bill when it was published on the 24th October".
"I am asking whether your view has changed since you welcomed the Bill in your press release on 24 October, or whether you are concerned about specific details of the Bill. On 24 October, all three organisations welcomed the creation of an integrated regulator. Has your view changed since then, and if so, why?"
Mr Bradshaw went on to say:
"You said, 'we broadly welcome the policy direction set out by the Government'"
I have now had the opportunity to look again at the Commission's statement of 24th October 2007. The statement quoted by Mr
Bradshaw was prepared following the publication of the Department of Health's response to the consultation on its wider regulatory review, and its decision to proceed with the creation of a new Care Quality Commission bringing together the functions of this Commission, the Healthcare Commission and the Mental Health Act Commission. It did not make reference to the Bill now before your committee, indeed the Bill before you was only published and given its first reading on 15 November 2007 and not 24 October 2007. The statement was posted on the Commission's web site but not formally issued as a press release. I enclose a copy of it for your information. The Commission has not issued any press release about the Bill itself.
In welcoming the overall policy direction, and that the new Commission would be able to build on the success of CSCI, I also made clear in the statement that there was a great deal of detail yet to be determined in the proposals. As our evidence to your Committee has demonstrated, this caution was appropriate in the circumstances.
This Commission has always been of the view that a structural change in the regulation of social care and health services at this time is premature, however desirable that end might be in the longer term. For your information therefore I am also enclosing a copy of the press release we issued when the structural changes were first announced by the then Chancellor in March 2005 - a position we continue to maintain.
As the Government has decided to proceed with the creation of a new regulator, the Care Quality Commission, this Commission's aim is to ensure that our current functions are transferred, undiluted, to the new Commission so that social care can play a strong part in the new Commission's work and our October statement reflects this intention.
I trust this helps to set the record straight.