Imelda Richardson, CSSIWs Chief Inspector, said:
I welcome the opportunities in the Bill, in particular the new legal framework to provide us with greater flexibility to enable us to continue to be an effective regulator and inspector of care.
Despite the limitations of the existing law, we have been creative in modernising our system and practice over the last five years to reflect changing patterns of care to ensure people, their experience and quality of life is the central focus of all our work and values.
Our inspectors have a strong presence across Wales and talk to people using the services, their relatives and staff when they are inspecting and focus on the outcomes for people against four quality themes: the Quality of Life, the Quality of the Environment, the Quality of Leadership and Management and the Quality of staff.
The safety and wellbeing of vulnerable people is everyone’s business and I am pleased to see provisions in the Bill to place greater accountability and transparency across the social system. The service and workforce regulators, commissioners and providers of care all have a critical role in driving improvements in care and ensuring people’s experiences are as positive as it should be.
We see a lot of good care being delivered in Wales but when we don’t we take action. The Bill will strengthen our powers to act even more quickly by making the owners of care organisations more accountable for the quality and improvement of the care they deliver. We also issue non-compliance notices as part of our enforcement process and last year saw 68% of those services that were non compliant improve.
The Bill also looks at involving people to empower them to get involved in regulation, something we currently do with our National Advisory Board. We have 50% of the board represented by citizens and they have been invaluable in helping to shape our work over the last 12 months. We are also planning to launch Regional Advisory Boards over the next 12 months which will increase citizen involvement in out work.
This year we also made it easier for the public to raise their concerns with us by launching a dedicated concerns line which links straight to our customer care teams who are trained to deal with concerns and offer advice. This lead to 284 additional inspections so we can see why involving people in the work that we do would play a central part in the Bill.
I am a strong supporter of quality judgement ratings - they are a powerful catalyst to drive quality towards excellence, empower people to make choices and to bring stability to the market. We will be working with our stakeholders to develop and pilot a Quality Judgement Framework this year, but this will take time. It is important we get it right to ensure everyone understands and that we have a new judgement system that is consistent and drives improvement within the sector.