Care England has strongly objected to suggestions that the Care Quality Commission increase fees to pay for a more robust inspection regime.
The CQC has been consulting on a five year plan of improvements since March 2015, but its full strategy will not be revealed until later this year.
The consultation phrase closes this month, with the 2016-2021 strategy due to be unveiled in May.
However, Care England believes that care home operators are already being asked to sign up to increased fees, despite now knowing precisely what they are paying for.
“Our response to CQC’s consultation objects strongly to the announcement of fee increases before the strategy itself has been finalised,” says Professor Martin Green OBE, chief executive of Care England.
“This is in effect asking providers to “buy blind” CQC’s regulatory service. Despite the trying financial times that CQC faces, to radically alter the inspection regime would be to undermine care quality and public confidence in social care and its regulation.
“We have therefore advised CQC to retain a rigour and a thoroughness that will amount to security and quality assurance, while trying to minimise the financial impact on already-stretched providers, for whom this presents yet another cost pressure,” Mr Green continues.
In a wider opinion on the five year plan, Care England says it supports provider involvement in inspections and submitting intelligence, but, “We have always been clear that co-regulation and a purely risk-based approach are not appropriate for the social care sector. The approach should be to routinely inspect all providers and target those that have been identified as higher risk,” says Mr Green.