The CQC are giving inspectors and their managers new supporting information about how to identify and respond to ‘closed cultures’ in services.
When a service has a closed culture, people are more at risk of abuse and human rights breaches. The supporting information includes risk factors and warning signs of closed cultures in health and social care settings and how inspectors and their managers should consider and respond to these.
Closed environments may develop in services where people are situated away from their communities, where people stay for months or years at a time, where there is weak management of these services and where staff often lack the right skills, training or experience to support people. The CQC are paying particular attention to services that provide care for people with a learning disability and or autism, but the information relates to services in any sector.
Why is the CQC releasing this now?
In May 2019, BBC Panorama exposed a culture of abuse and human rights breaches of people with a learning disability and autistic people at Whorlton Hall. It reinforced how everyone involved in the care of people with a learning disability or autistic people has a part to play in identifying where abuse and human rights breaches may be taking place.
Since then the CQC has written to providers to highlight that they have taken steps to strengthen the way they assess these types of services. The CQC asked that providers consider what steps they can take to better protect the human rights of people in their service.
There are particular challenges in regulating services where there is a culture of concealment of abuse and human rights breaches. This supporting information will help the CQC’s frontline staff to assess services where there may be a risk of abuse and abusive cultures. It will also help managers in CQC to support their frontline staff in this difficult task.