A Tribunal has supported the CQC’s decision to prevent Care Management Group (CMG) Limited from increasing the number of people with a learning disability at one of its services.
The decision came after CMG challenged the CQC’s refusal of its application to increase the maximum number of people at its Cherry Tree service in Essex from seven to 10.
The CQC’s refusal was on the basis that it did not demonstrate it would comply with its policy ‘Registering the Right Support’ as well as the underpinning guidance that states new services and variations to registrations within a campus and congregate setting should not be developed due to this model of care not being in the best interests of people with a learning disability.
Tribunal Judge, Siobhan Goodrich, said: “We have found that the decision was plainly in accordance with the law, including the regulations. We also consider that the decision was necessary in pursuit of a legitimate public interest, namely, the protection and promotion of the health and well-being of future service users, who, if this provision were to be extended would be placed there despite the national recognition that this model of care, in a campus and congregate setting, is not the appropriate model in terms of according adequate respect for the rights of those with autism to live as ordinary a life as any other citizen.
“We attach very considerable weight indeed to the principles that underpin the respondent’s decision and to ‘Registering the Right Support’. In our view all three of the public interest objectives set out in section 3 of the Health and Social Care Act 2008 are clearly engaged in this appeal.”
Andrea Sutcliffe CBE, Chief Inspector of Adult Social Care at CQC said: “I am delighted the First-tier Tribunal has recognised that our decision was, and remains, ‘fair, reasonable and proportionate’.
“This recognises the important role CQC has in taking decisions about registration that protect and promote the health, safety and welfare of people with autism and learning disabilities – decisions that support and are informed by national and best-practice guidance.
“This objective is clearly set out in our policy, ‘Registering the Right Support’, and was at the heart of CQC’s decision to refuse CMG’s application to increase the number of people living at Cherry Tree on the Lilliputs site.
“I am proud of CQC, and in particular the registration, advisory and legal teams who worked on this application, for standing up for the rights of people who use services and I am determined that we will continue to do so.”
A spokesperson for CMG said: “We are disappointed by the tribunal decision, but we agree with the Principles of ‘Registering the Right Support’. In this case, we were seeking to register three places in an existing service, not a new service and were completing a process we started prior to registering. The CQC was in full knowledge of this.
“All the services on the Lilliputs site are rated Good by the CQC and operate in the same way as other CMG sites – promoting independence and social inclusion. The CMG Group has 10 services rated Outstanding and 99% of all services are rated either Good or Outstanding, and we are pleased that the high quality of our services was recognised by the judge in their judgement.”