This equality impact assessment (EIA) was prepared by CQC Finance team.
1: Aims and objectives
The provider fees scheme enables CQC to recover fees to meet the costs of its regulatory activity and functions that is not covered through grant-in-aid from the Department of Health. At the time of writing, it is intended a revised scheme of fees will take legal effect from 1 April 2019.
Who will be affected? All registered providers.
Our current fees scheme applies to fees due from 1 April 2019.
Update: CQC announced in December 2021 there would be no change to provider fees for 2022-2023 and fees will remain the same as in the last three years. You can find the fees scheme, guidance and calculator at www.cqc.org.uk/fees.
2: Engagement and involvement
CQC carried out a consultation on provider fees for 2019-2020, which closed in January 2019.
3: Impact and mitigation
Does the work affect people who use services, employees or the wider community? (This is not only refers to the number of those affected but also by the significance of the impact on them)
Possibly, but not quantifiable. We have requested comment from providers as part of the consultation.
Is it a major piece of work, significantly affecting how functions are delivered?
Will it have a significant effect on how other organisations deliver their functions in terms of equality or human rights?
Does it relate to functions that previous engagement has identified as being important to particular protected groups or human rights?
Does or could it affect different protected groups differently?
Does it relate to an area with known inequalities or breaches of human rights?
Does it relate to an area where equality objectives have been set by CQC?
Does or could it impact upon personal privacy?
The fees consultation and its proposals have no direct impact on equality or human rights.
The main proposal sets out the proposed fees charges for 2019/20. Now that we have met the government requirement (that fee-setting bodies are at full chargeable cost recovery) for most sectors, we are reviewing the fees scheme to ensure that fees are charged and distributed fairly, and that the direction of fee-setting means that the fees charged are broadly aligned to the cost of regulating the sectors. All our proposals reflect this approach.
Our proposals are designed to address this. We are approaching this carefully so that fees do not fluctuate unduly. We have targeted sectors where we believe there is variance in relation to the total costs and fees. Community social care providers will see an increase as they are in their last year of the four-year trajectory to full chargeable cost recovery. Dental providers will see their fees increase and residential care providers will see their fees decrease.
We remain of the view that the fees scheme does not directly affect any of the characteristics protected in the Equality Act (age, disability, gender, gender reassignment, marriage/civil partnership, pregnancy/maternity, race, religion or belief, and sexual orientation), or privacy.
4: Human rights duties assessment
Human rights duties compliance
This policy has the potential to interfere with a provider’s qualified right to peaceful enjoyment of their possessions under Article 1 of Protocol 1 of the Human Rights Act 1998 because it proposes to increase the fees that some providers are obligated to pay.
The additional fees some providers are required to pay may amount to possessions for the purposes of Article 1 or Protocol 1. However, we consider that the proposed changes to fees are both lawful and in the public interest. Any interference with providers’ possessions is considered to be proportionate and justified. For community social care providers, fee increases are in line with a key government policy for government arms-length bodies to recover the costs of their chargeable regulatory activities from fees from providers rather than from grant-in-aid. We have undertaken this for all other sectors. For other sectors where fees change, this rebalances the fees in a direction that moves towards a position where the fees charged are broadly aligned against the cost of regulating the sectors. CQC is therefore justified in taking steps to make changes to the fees it charges providers to offset its reliance on grant-in-aid and ensure that the fees scheme is fair.
5: Action planning
No specific actions identified.
6: EIA sign off and review
This equality impact assessment and action plan was approved by:
CQC Executive Director of Strategy and Intelligence and Equality, Diversity and Human Rights Manager, October 2018.
This equality impact assessment was reviewed in December 2021. It will be reviewed in line with future changes or consultation on provider fees.