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Government to care homes sector: help us improve enforcement of regulation

In addition to making suggestions for improvements to the current enforcement regime, people working in or running adult care homes are also…

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government


In addition to making suggestions for improvements to the current enforcement regime, people working in or running adult care homes are also asked to suggest how regulators can better help providers comply with the law, and to highlight where regulation is working well, so that good practice can be replicated across the sector.

Urging all those with an interest to submit ideas for improvement to the Focus on Enforcement website, Business Minister Michael Fallon said:

“People deserve high quality, safe care. Enforcing regulation more effectively will allow providers to focus on better protecting residents. People working in the care homes sector are well placed to tell us where the system is working, and where confusing or contradictory requirements are getting in the way. But we are also keen to hear from everyone with an interest who has evidence of how enforcement can be improved.

“This review aims to inform the way in which regulation is delivered; it is not looking at the underlying legislation. I’m also keen to hear where really good enforcement is working well in the sector so we can ensure useful lessons are learned. This is an opportunity for care providers of all sizes to make a real difference to the way regulators inspect and advise them and enforce the law.”

The Focus on Enforcement review will consider all regulatory activity undertaken by national regulators and local authorities. It will focus solely on the way regulation is delivered, not on underlying legislation, and will look in particular at the following areas:

  • The extent of overlaps, gaps and coordination between different regulatory regimes affecting care homes.

  • The extent to which compliance and enforcement activity in care homes is: proportionate to the risks it seeks to mitigate; consistent; transparent; and accountable.

  • The requirements placed on providers by the commissioners of care services, and how these link to other regulatory requirements.

  • Whether providers are being subjected to unnecessary pressures and costs by third parties.

The Focus on Enforcement review is part of the Government’s commitment to regulate all businesses more efficiently and to cut unnecessary bureaucracy so companies can focus on delivering ever better services.

Alongside this _Focus on Enforcement _review, the Department of Health is launching the Healthy Living and Social Care theme of Red Tape Challenge. This initiative invites the public, business, healthcare professionals, and the voluntary and community sector to give their views, comments and ideas on which regulations should stay, be improved, or be scrapped altogether across the health and social care sectors.

Over 500 regulations covering a range of areas across quality of care, mental health, the NHS, professional standards and public health will be available for public comment.

**Notes to Editors

1. Care Homes, which is the 7th review theme to be launched, is now live on the Better Regulation Executive’s Focus on Enforcement website at: ** You can also join the conversation on Twitter using the #focusenforce hashtag. The site also gives individuals and businesses the opportunity to suggest areas for future review of compliance and enforcement arrangements, and to provide evidence on areas ‘in focus’ such as Care Homes. Comments can be posted anonymously as well as ‘on the record’.

  1. The Focus on Enforcement reviews focus on the way regulation is delivered and compliance is achieved - whether through inspections, advice or enforcement - not on the regulations themselves. A separate initiative - Red Tape Challenge - invites the public, business and the voluntary and community sector to give their views, comments and ideas on what regulations should stay, be improved, or be scrapped altogether. Each Focus on Enforcement review starts with a 5 to 6 week evidence-gathering phase.

  2. In addition, the Focus on Enforcement website, for the first time, provides details on national regulators, their remits and regulatory budgets, links to organograms and staff resource in one place and information is also provided on regulatory functions undertaken by local authorities. (A large number of organisations play a part in securing compliance with the law. They include national regulators, local authorities, and bodies independent of Government, some of which have statutory regulatory functions. The list on the website is not exhaustive and details will continue to be added and updated).

  3. The scope of the Review of Care Homes encompasses regulatory activity by national regulators and local authorities in respect of the regulation of adult residential and respite care, and supported living which could include but is not limited to:

  • The extent to which compliance and enforcement activity in care homes is: proportionate to the risks it seeks to mitigate; targeted; consistent; transparent; and accountable.

  • Overlaps, gaps and coordination between multiple regulatory regimes from the perspective of the provider.

  • Perceptions of the law that may drive unnecessary behaviour.

  • Whether there is unreasonable or unnecessary pressure brought to bear on providers by third-parties.

The scope will exclude:

  • Domiciliary care, general healthcare and children’s residential care.

  • Other regulatory activity which is not unique to care homes such as employment law; company law or taxation common to most businesses.

  • The review will avoid duplication of effort with other recent or current reviews of similar subject matter.

  1. Regulatory activity in this context includes action taken by national regulators or officers of local authorities, including:
  • Provision of advice on compliance with the law.

  • Inspections of locations or equipment in order to satisfy regulatory authorities of compliance with the law.

  • Requirements to make formal applications, or provide information.

  • Requirements to attend courses / obtain particular qualifications.

  • Enforcement proceedings taken against individuals or organisations in the event of perceived or actual failure to comply with regulations (we cannot consider comments on specific cases unless all proceedings have finished - but we can consider general evidence in relation to enforcement proceedings).

The review will also seek to identify examples of effective, tailored and easy to understand guidance and advice for businesses, and good enforcement delivery that is risk-based, focused on achieving compliance and supporting business growth.

  1. For more information about the Red Tape Challenge visit:

  2. The Government’s economic policy objective is to achieve ‘strong, sustainable and balanced growth that is more evenly shared across the country and between industries.’ It set four ambitions in the ‘Plan for Growth’ (PDF 1.7MB), published at Budget 2011:

  • To create the most competitive tax system in the G20

  • To make the UK the best place in Europe to start, finance and grow a business

  • To encourage investment and exports as a route to a more balanced economy

  • To create a more educated workforce that is the most flexible in Europe.

Work is underway across Government to achieve these ambitions, including progress on more than 250 measures as part of the Growth Review. Developing an Industrial Strategy gives new impetus to this work by providing businesses, investors and the public with more clarity about the long-term direction in which the Government wants the economy to travel.

  1. BIS’s online newsroom contains the latest press notices and speeches, as well as video and images for download. It also features an up to date list of BIS press office contacts. See for more information.

Notes to Editors

Contact Information

Name BIS Press Office Job Title

Division Department for Business, Innovation & Skills Phone




Name Oliver Fry Job Title

Division Department for Business, Innovation & Skills Phone 020 7215 5965 Fax



Published 6 November 2012