DURING a debate in Westminster Hall on 5 September, Caroline Dinenage MP, the Minister for Care, suggested care company chiefs should be struck off the directors’ register for providing bad care.
In the debate, Ms Dinenage talked about the need to investigate cases of abuse and improve skills in the care sector. But the minister went on to say: ‘There is also a fit-and-proper-person test to hold directors to account for care.’
Care providers and care staff can be prosecuted under the Care Act 2015 for willful neglect. But it has proved very difficult to gain convictions under this legislation and very few providers have been prosecuted. Using a fit and proper person test, however, individuals can be struck off the directors' register for up to 15 years. This has usually followed financial misconduct, but Ms Dinenage’s comment suggests the Government would like to see this test used in respect of directors who implement care regimes which lead to neglect or abuse.
Such a move could prove highly-effective in preventing care companies maximising profits by deliberately providing inadequate numbers of staff – leading to neglect and abusive situations.
Yesterday, OLM showed that most bad care in failing homes in the last six weeks has been caused by staff shortages. Even well-funded private homes have been found guilty of providing too few staff – in a deliberate profit-related move.
Disqualifications are carried out under the Company Directors Disqualification Act 1986.