The adult social care sector is just one within the United Kingdom that has recently come under the scrutiny of the Government’s Cutting Red Tape Review, which aims to work with business to examine ways for simplifying or improving legislation and its implementation to assist in compliance and minimise unnecessary business burdens.

The review was conceived to tackle such issues as overlap and duplication between regulators, and to pinpoint instances of unclear, confusing or unnecessarily burdensome legislation, guidance or approach to regulatory implementation. The review represents a continuation from 2013’s Focus on Enforcement review, which concentrated on regulatory practice and enforcement burdens in adult social care.

Evidence was sought from those employed in the sector about their experiences of regulation and its manner of enforcement. It found generally positive and professional relationships between regulators and providers, with examples of good practice given. However, great concern was also expressed about the duplication of regulations and information requests, often on the basis that providers were being distracted from the delivery of frontline care as a result.

While there was a clear sense among respondents that a robust regulatory system was required for underpinning high-quality provision and ensuring residents’ safety, many of them also suggested that things could work better, showing a strong appetite to work together to improve how regulation and contract management are implemented.

The CQC’s Chief Inspector of Adult Social Care, Andrea Sutcliffe, commented: “I welcome the challenge to reduce the burden of duplication – a concern the consultation on our 2016 to 2021 strategy has already recognised. We have set out proposals to streamline the way we collect and share information about services and our desire to agree a shared view of quality. We are sure life will be so much easier for the public and providers if everyone, including providers and commissioners, looked at quality in the same way.”

The Government – led by the Department of Health – has published its initial formal response, setting out its commitment to this agenda and the immediate steps that it intends to make. The response can be found on the Government’s Cutting Red Tape website and is set to be underpinned by a detailed and ambitious programme of work developed in partnership with the sector, and on which progress will be reported at six-monthly intervals.

As a provider of compliance support for care homes, London Registrars looks forward to reading such six monthly reports and observing their influence on an adult social care sector in which it remains critically important to keep abreast of and lighten the burden of the many and ever-increasingly compliance requirements. A comprehensive basic package, including employment advice, health and safety advice and assistance with general Companies Act compliance, is now available from London Registrars.

May, 2016