‘The Ingredients for Growth’ – Care Providers Experience of Regulation & Oversight

Today, Wednesday 24 November, 2021, the findings of a survey to care providers on their experience of regulation and oversight have been released in our report ‘The Ingredients for Growth’.

Imagery can help us to understand purpose, value and context; just as new shoots require certain ingredients to grow, improvement in care and support can only happen when the conditions are right.

For many, it has felt like the oversight arrangements introduced in May 2020 have created confusion in the landscape leaving the bodies involved trying to justify their purpose. Key themes running throughout the report are the need for clarity in the role and function of all parts of the system, and greater partnership working and consistency which includes recognition of sector expertise. Worryingly, this experience detracts from prioritising the needs and wellbeing of those in receipt of care and support.

Care providers raised several areas where oversight and regulation has failed, highlighting a serious lack of understanding of the context within which the care sector is providing support. This is evidenced through providers commenting on increasingly clinicalised approaches which disregard the distinctive role and purpose of social care; inconsistencies in grading; and a lack of objectivity and consideration given to the effects of the pandemic on the sector, not least on the morale and wellbeing of the workforce. While there have been positive experiences with oversight and regulation, these are often dependent upon relationships with the individuals involved. Interventions rarely recognise the work and changes that have happened over the past 20 months and heightened scrutiny increases challenges for staff and residents alike.

Going forward, a co-produced review and articulation of the purpose and function of regulation and oversight arrangements should be undertaken. Care and support are about people not systems; the review therefore must have a fundamental focus on creating the conditions for achieving the health and social care standards and the human rights-based approach which they embody. The process must recognise existing legislation, sector expertise, and the conditions required to implement arrangements and changes effectively. Scottish Care will continue to work closely with the Care Inspectorate via a longstanding joint working group and welcomes an invitation from the Chief Nursing Officers Directorate at Scottish Government to co-chair a short life working group to define and implement future solutions.