Mark Ruffell was instructed to represent a well-established domiciliary care provider who faced having their registration being cancelled by the CQC. The background is a familiar tale of a service provider who had previously been rated as ‘Good’, finding that in a routine inspection in 2016 it ‘Required Improvement.’ In early 2017 it was inspected and rated ‘Inadequate’. It was placed in Special Measures and Warning Notices were issues. In late 2017 it was again rated ‘Inadequate’ and the CQC issued a Notice of Proposal to cancel registration. They stated that there had been no noticeable improvement.
Mark was instructed at the time that the Notice of Proposal was issued to draft grounds of appeal against the Notice of Proposal:
‘My first task was to ensure that the provider understood that if they did not provide proof of a seismic shift in how the business operated, at all levels, then the appeal would fail. I then went through line by line, the Inspection Reports, addressing each point raised, and looking for evidence that change had taken place or that the problem would not re-occur. Fortunately, the provider was prepared to invest the time and resources to make the necessary changes. However, with a looming appeal hearing, time was going to run out. Following the service of the CQC’s witness statements, I helped with the drafting of the provider’s witness statements, to ensure that every assertion was backed up by a documentary exhibit. When the inevitable re-inspection came from the CQC, to see whether the words in the statements matched the actual reality, they changed the rating from ‘Inadequate’ to ‘Requires Improvement’. The CQC then requested a stay of the appeal, to see whether the changes introduced would drive continuous improvement. In early 2018, the provider was re-inspected and rated ‘Good’, and the CQC did not oppose the appeal. Those significant efforts made 12 months’ earlier, working closely with the provider, made the difference in turning the business around.’