CMG – a care provider running a large number of specialist support provisions across the country for people with learning disabilities and/or autism and behaviour that is challenging – applied to CQC in April 2017 to increase the maximum number of people at its Cherry Tree service in Essex from 7 to 10.
Situated on a congregate and campus site known as Lilliputs, the setting also includes two other CQC registered services, a children’s home registered by Ofsted and a day centre. Altogether, CMG may accommodate up to 26 people across those services on the site.
The CQC refused CMG’s application on the basis it did not demonstrate it would comply with CQC’s policy ‘Registering the Right Support’ – as well as the underpinning national guidance – that states new services and variations to registrations within a campus and congregate setting should not be developed due to this model of care not being in the best interests of people with a learning disability.
Prior to CMG’s application, the CQC was also not assured that appropriate consultation had taken place with those who used the Lilliputs site, their families and advocates, or with local commissioners to identify local need.
Tribunal Judge, Siobhan Goodrich, said “We have found that the decision was plainly in accordance with the law, including the regulations.
“We also consider that the decision was necessary in pursuit of a legitimate public interest, namely, the protection and promotion of the health and well-being of future service users, who, if this provision were to be extended would be placed there despite the national recognition that this model of care, in a campus and congregate setting, is not the appropriate model in terms of according adequate respect for the rights of those with autism to live as ordinary a life as any other citizen."
Welcoming the decision, Andrea Sutcliffe CBE, Chief Inspector of Adult Social Care at CQC said
“I am proud of CQC, and in particular the registration, advisory and legal teams who worked on this application, for standing up for the rights of people who use services and I am determined that we will continue to do so.”