New Equality and Human Rights Guidance for Care Quality Commission Inspectors

07 October 2011

The Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) has joined forces with the Care Quality Commission (CQC) to produce equality and human rights guidance for care inspectors. The advice is aimed at ensuring people who are most vulnerable to harm have their rights upheld and respected.

It enables CQC inspectors to clearly link effective equality and human rights compliance with high-quality, safe services and sets out exactly what they have to look for when monitoring a care provider against standards. Inspectors will also know what to do if they suspect a human rights violation or find a breach in standards.

The new guidance comes as the EHRC enters the final phase of its Inquiry into the experiences of older people receiving care at home, and in particular the legal obligation of care providers, local authorities, the CQC and central government to protect the human rights of customers.

Interim findings from the Inquiry revealed that human rights were not being observed in the delivery of home care. The Commission believes this demonstrates the importance of the new guidance, which captures the equality and human rights dimensions of the essential standards that the CQC applies to its monitoring work.

The guidance has been subject to a 12-week consultation to ensure the views of users of health and adult social care services, CQC staff, carers and providers were all taken into consideration. In total 70 responses were received. The draft guidance has further been piloted across the country in eight CQC reviews.

Baroness Sally Greengross, Commissioner with the Equality and Human Rights Commission said: “CQC inspectors will now be trained to look for any breaches in equality and human rights law and know what action to take if they find any. This was not previously the case and will provide for more robust future monitoring. It should also make care providers more vigilant.

“The interim finding from our Home Care Inquiry found human rights were not being respected in the delivery of care and this guidance will help address such disturbing findings.”

The guidance is also driving forward the Parliamentary Health Service Ombudsman’s recommendation that health and social care organisations need to do more to meet their statutory and regulatory requirements. As part of this the Commission has a Memorandum of Understanding with the CQC relating to equality and human rights.

View the guidance and supporting documents

Ends

For more press information contact the Commission’s media office on 020 3117 0255, out of hours 07767 272 818.

For general enquiries please contact the Commission’s national helpline: England 0845 604 6610, Scotland 0845 604 5510 or Wales 0845 604 8810.

Notes to editors

The Commission is a statutory body established under the Equality Act 2006, which took over the responsibilities of Commission for Racial Equality, Disability Rights Commission and Equal Opportunities Commission. It is the independent advocate for equality and human rights in Britain. It aims to reduce inequality, eliminate discrimination, strengthen good relations between people, and promote and protect human rights. The Commission enforces equality legislation on age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex, sexual orientation, and encourages compliance with the Human Rights Act. It also gives advice and guidance to businesses, the voluntary and public sectors, and to individuals.