Memorandum submitted by CSCI (H&SC 21- ii)

Dame Denise Platt DBE, chair of the Commission for Social Care Inspection, today expressed disappointment that a further period of instability in the future of social care regulation for children and adult services has been introduced in today's Budget statement.

Dame Denise said:

"The Commission was set up with a clear purpose - to promote improvement in social care through modernising the way these services are regulated, slimming down regulation so that it is risk-based and fit for purpose, and by putting the consumer at the centre.

"We have already begun to do this and our recently published plans to deliver this modernising agenda have received government agreement and very strong support from the 4,000 responses we have had.

"An overwhelming message, however, was that it will be very difficult for us to deliver this level of change, without a period of stability. We will try to deliver as much of this agenda as we can but clearly today's announcement means that we will have to modify our plans.

"We have always supported closer working with the Healthcare Commission and Ofsted as integrated arrangements develop in the inspection of social care, health and education services.

"We are concerned about the message further upheaval sends to the 1.6 million people who use social care in England, their families, and the eight million unpaid carers in the UK."


Notes for editors

1. Created by the Health and Social Care (Community Health and Standards) Act 2003, the Commission for Social Care Inspection began operations on 1 April 2004. It replaced the Social Services Inspectorate (SSI), SSI/Audit Commission Joint Review Team and National Care Standards Commission (NCSC).

2. It is now the single inspectorate for social care in England, responsible for regulating and inspecting all social care providers - whether public sector or privately owned.  

3. CSCI has a significant regulatory and performance role and one that is unique in its size and scope amongst contemporary inspectorates. Each year more than 50,000 inspections, using National Minimum Standards set by Government take place in services that have to be registered with the Commission. CSCI also inspects local council social services - including how they commission and assess services - and assign star ratings.

4. The Commission's primary aim is to improve social care by putting the needs of people who use care services first.

5. The Commission is chaired by Dame Denise Platt DBE and has five Commissioners. The Chief Inspector of Social Services is David Behan CBE. CSCI staff work across nine regions in England - aligned with the government offices of the regions.

6. This is the fourth proposal to change social care regulation since 1998. (see chronology)


A Brief chronology of Social Care Regulation in England

1984 Registered Homes Act. Structural change - Introduction of regulation of adult residential care by local authorities and of nursing homes by health authorities.

1989 Children Act. Structural change - Introduction of regulation of child care services, mostly by local authorities but some (e.g. voluntary children's homes and boarding schools) by Secretaries of State.

1996 Burgner Report. Reviewed the regulation and inspection of social services.

1998 White Paper, "Modernising Social Services". Proposed structural change - regulatory responsibilities of local and health authorities to be shifted to eight regional Commissions for Care Standards

2000 Care Standards Act. Structural change - created a single, England-wide National Care Standards Commission, broadly replacing regulatory responsibilities of local councils, health authorities and Secretaries of State under the 1984 and 1989 Acts and bringing additional services (e.g. domiciliary care and small children's homes) within the scope of regulation.


2002 National Care Standards Commission (NCSC). Launched in April 2002, incorporating the work of some 230 local and health authority inspection units. In operation for 17 days before further structural change announced.

2003 Health and Social Care (Community Health and Standards) Act. Structural change - created the Commission for Social Care Inspection, bringing together the regulation, service inspection and performance assessment of social care in England, and adding a range of new, national responsibilities.

2004 Commission for Social Care Inspection. Launched in April 2004, incorporating the social care responsibilities of the NCSC, the work of the Department of Health's Social Services Inspectorate, and the SSI/Audit Commission Joint Review Team.

2004 November 2004 - CSCI, with Government support, announces plans to significantly modernise regulatory and inspection system while cutting regulatory and inspection burden. Modernisation programme scheduled to take three years to implement.


2005 16 March 2005 Budget - Structural change - Chancellor announces merger of Commission for Social Care Inspection and Healthcare Commission.

January 2008