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Legal changes

More obligations for care home operators to provide information

There are separate requirements for domiciliary care providers

Many care home providers will already be aware that the CQC has power pursuant to s.64 of the Health and Social Care Act 2008 to require information from any person who carries out or manages a regulated activity. This power enables them to obtain information, documents, or records which the CQC considers “necessary or expedient to have for the purpose of any of its regulatory functions”. The power covers information, documents or records kept on computer or other formats, and if necessary, the provider can be required to provide the information in a legible form (for example, downloading from a computer).

Failure to comply with a request under s.64 is an offence punishable by a fine.  

Section 65 of the Act also empowers the CQC to require prescribed persons to provide an explanation in relation to any relevant matter to the CQC.  

New obligation to provide data to DHSC

As a result of an amendment to the Health and Social Care Act 2012 the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care (“DHSC”) may require adult social care providers to produce information in relation to themselves, their activities in connection with the provision of care in England, and the persons to whom they have provided such care.  

This power backs up the requirement to submit data to the DHSC via the Capacity Tracker. Data must be provided between the 8th day of each month and the 14th day of each month (or the next day if the 14th day is a weekend or public holiday). The Tracker requires, for care homes, provision of details in relation to bed vacancies, workforce resourcing and absences, covid-19 and flu vaccination, and visiting. 

There are separate requirements for domiciliary care providers.

If a provider fails to produce the information, enforcement action can be taken. The DHSC has said that they will not be using these enforcement powers until the end of April 2023.  

The enforcement powers involve, in escalating order:

  1. Contacting the provider to offer support.
  2. Further contact.
  3. Issuing a Notice of Intent to remind the provider of their obligations – representations in response can be submitted within 14 days.
  4. Issue of a Final Notice imposing a fine. A provider may appeal this to the First Tier Tribunal. Any appeal must be made within a 28-day time limit.

For further information please contact Andrew, or if you'd prefer you can contact any of our specialist care regulatory and CQC solicitors or your usual Weightmans' contact.