Relatives & Residents Association

We support, inform and speak on behalf of older people in care


Contracting out must not mean opting out

9 January 2017: A recent Ombudsman report* says that local councils must ensure that providers maintain proper standards of care for their care home residents, even when the service is outsourced.   This important conclusion is the result of an Investigation into a complaint by the daughter of a care home resident who suffered appalling neglect in Monarch House, a Four Seasons care home.

The LGO criticised Wokingham council for its failures of oversight while a resident in her 90s lost one-third of her body weight and whose care in the home was neglectful.

councils can’t contract out accountability

The report* emphasised that councils may not ‘contract out accountability’ for care home services and quoted a court judgment to that effect.

It stated that that local authorities should include specific requirements in their contracts with independent providers.   In particular, these should include the regular monitoring of weight, falls and stimulus and activities.   These are simply the most basic requirements for registered providers and it is shameful that such comments were necessary.

However, it is crucial that local authorities should safeguard their residents by making sure that contracts are sufficiently detailed and, of course, regularly monitored.

The Ombudsman makes no comment about the responsibilities of the CQC, whose June 2013 report had criticised the home’s failure to have effective recruitment and selection procedures as well as its failure to notify the regulator about three deaths in the home as well as about other serious incidents, as required.


*reference number: 14 000 933  published 5. January 2017

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