The Care Quality Commission (CQC) regulates the management of care providers for the safety and wellbeing of the public who access care. This includes high street provisions such as dentists and GPs; but also care agencies.
As social workers we are not included within this regulator’s purview. We are regulated by Social Work England as individual practitioners. However, given the nature of our support to clients and in turn their privately employed carers and support workers, Life Resolutions Ltd regularly reviews the relevant legislation around this area and has held detailed discussions with the CQC on several occasions over time to consider and then review whether we need to register as a domically provider; as well as maintain our status as a social work practice.
We have completed this task due to the similarities between social work and case management, which is another growing body in the care sector, and some of these providers have registered with CQC. It is crucial to note that ‘case management’ is itself not a profession, but an activity, undertaken by a collective drawn from a wide range of people– some qualified professionals, some not. Case management activity is at present unregulated; although a collective of the voluntary membership bodies in this field are working to develop a form of regulation to raise standards and protect the public.
As part of this process the voluntary membership bodies approached the CQC for definitive guidance on the area of ‘to register or not to register’ in 2019. The reply from CQC summed up each company must make their own registration decision based on the services they provide in ‘context’ and the CQC concluded
‘it is not possible to provide a definitive answer as to whether all case managers/companies…must register with CQC, given their very varied duties and differing circumstances of their involvement…….’
Our reference to case management is included as we are often paralleled to ‘case management’ providers. Afterall an independent social work practice is unusual, but we are different because of our registered status. We support the development of case management services and our Founder Christine Whiting has been an Advanced Member of one of the key voluntary membership bodies, the British Association of Brain Injury Case Management (BABICM) for over 15 years. We recognise the need for a diverse range of ‘case managers’ to support the growing body of clients in the community in need of support; and we wholeheartedly support the voluntary membership bodies commitment to securing regulation in the future. However, we also take great pride in our social work identity and it has been our professional background as social workers that has been the foundation to our discussions with CQC about our specific services.
The outcome for our service to date concludes that as qualified social workers, Life Resolutions holds what the CQC describe as an ‘active interest’ in the delivery of care for our clients and have the responsibility to review and change care plans as required; as well as be involved in how carers support clients. This is because this is part of our training before we become registered social work practitioners. Our training is to ‘case manage’ including client care plans and the delivery of care to benefit our clients when in the community and other settings. It is for this overriding reason at this time we are not required to register with the CQC as a separate care provider too; if our clients also employ their own carers.
Going forwards, Life Resolutions Ltd will continue to monitor any changes in legislation regarding registration with the CQC and will act appropriately.