Appeal against closure of care home dismissed due to potential exposure of residents to ongoing risk of serious harm

May 24, 2023

James Harrison represented the Care Quality Commission before the First Tier Tribunal (Care Standards Chamber) in a ten-day appeal against the cancellation of the registration of a provider under the Health and Social Care Act 2008 (Regulated Activities) Regulations 2014.

The Appellant operated a large residential care home providing personal care since September 2014 during which time it was inspected 11 times by the Commission and never received a ‘Good’ overall rating. Throughout the history of the registration, the Appellant was found to have consistently breached regulations in respect of ‘good governance’ and ‘safe care and treatment’. At the time of the final hearing, the care home was at the centre of a Local Authority Large Scale Enquiry, subject to a ‘no purchase order’ by the Local Authority, and received extensive support from a Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub. Improvements in the standards of care were accepted to have been made at the home but a key question was whether those improvements were driven by the Appellant not external agencies and the extent to which they could be sustained and consolidated.

The Appeal was brought on five grounds namely that the Commission made material errors in its inspection findings, that the Appellant was compliant with the relevant Regulations, that the Commission misdirected itself as to the law, that insufficient consideration had been given to impact on the residents, and that the decision to cancel the registration was not proportionate. In evidence, it was further alleged that Commission inspectors had acted in bad faith. All grounds of appeal were dismissed and the allegations of bad faith found to be without merit. The Tribunal ultimately reached the same conclusion as the Commission, namely that the Appellant did not have the capacity to achieve regulatory compliance within a reasonable period nor to sustain such compliance.