Challenging CQC embargoes

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Challenging CQC embargoes

Safeguarding issues and inspections can prompt a slew of problems for care providers.  One of the most difficult is embargoes on placements.  Where embargoes typically used to be imposed by a local authority (and still can be), they are now often imposed by the Care Quality Commission(CQC).

A typical scenario is that CQC inspects a care service, finds that the care is unsafe, and threatens to impose a Notice of Proposal to impose a condition on the provider’s registration.  The proposed “condition” is often that the provider not be permitted to take on any new service users unless and until it has CQC’s approval to do so.

Can I challenge an embargo imposed by CQC?

CQC frequently ask providers to voluntarily agree to embargoes on placements.  They back this up with the threat that if you do not agree voluntarily, they will impose the condition formally.  The trouble with this, from a legal perspective, is that if you agree to voluntarily accept, you are not given the chance to contest the evidence cited by CQC as the reason for the embargo.

In other words, whether you can challenge the embargo depends on whether you have voluntarily agreed to the embargo or whether CQC have issued a Notice of Proposal to impose a condition on your registration.  If you have agreed to an embargo, then you have effectively relinquished your right to challenge the embargo.

If, however, the CQC have issued a Notice of Proposal to impose a condition on registration (limiting admissions) then you will have 28 days to make representations and try to persuade CQC to rescind its embargo.

Whatever your situation it is important that you speak to a team of experts who can help you minimise the risk to your business and help you to lift the embargo.

How can Royds Withy King help?

Embargoes can often force a care home out of business, but this does not have to be the case.   Most problems have a solution and we are here to help.

We frequently help providers manage their way out of embargoes, whether those are imposed by commissioners or CQC.  This usually goes hand in hand with advising on a serious safeguarding issue or other compliance action by CQC.

I have always found them to be accessible and quick to respond to any queries. I am very happy to recommend the Social Care team at Royds Withy King to other care home providers.
Ravi Gidar, Director Gold Care Homes

FAQs

As a provider, CQC have control over your registration to provide services.  They can therefore control the number of service users permitted at your service.  This gives them the power to impose an embargo on placements.

Generally, placements by a local authority are governed by the contract between the provider and the local authority.  Local authorities also have safeguarding policies that set out when they can put a stop on placements.  If your contract provides for an embargo on placements and the conditions set out in the local authority’s policies are met, then the local authority can impose an embargo.  We would caveat this by saying that local authorities sometimes fail to follow their own policies and procedures, so it is worth questioning under what provision they have imposed the embargo.

Whether you can challenge an embargo depends on whether you have voluntarily agreed to the embargo or whether CQC have issued a Notice of Proposal to impose a condition on your registration.  If you have agreed to an embargo, then you have effectively relinquished your right to challenge the embargo.  On the other hand, if CQC have issued a Notice of Proposal to impose a condition on registration (limiting admissions) then you will have 28 days to make representations and try to persuade CQC to rescind its embargo.

CQC will consider your representations and will either: (a) issue a letter saying that they will not impose the condition; or (b) issue a Notice of Decision to impose a condition confirming that the embargo will stand.

Yes.  You can appeal a Notice of Decision to the First Tier Tribunal.  We can help with these appeals.


Contact us to find out how our expert team can help you protect your care home from the impact of CQC embargoes.