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Director of homecare agency sentenced for failing to register with CQC
A woman who ran a homecare agency even though she was not registered with the Care Quality Commission as required by law has been given a suspended prison sentence at Bristol Crown Court.
CQC brought the case against Annerine Stratford-Tuke, from Dundry, near Bristol, for carrying out a regulated activity, personal care, without being registered with CQC - an offence under the Health and Social Care Act 2008.
At a previous hearing before Bath Magistrates Court Ms Stratford-Tuke had pleaded guilty to five charges of running a care agency which was not registered. She also admitted a charge of failing to provide information relating to the management of the agency as required by CQC.
The judge was told that she was the sole director of Chew Valley Care Ltd, a company employing at least 13 carer staff to visit people in their own homes.
CQC had warned her on a number of occasions that her failure to register was a criminal offence. When she subsequently submitted an application to register, she failed to mention that she had previously been convicted of serious criminal offences by a court in South Africa. As a result her applications were refused.
The court was told that Chew Valley Care continued to provide care services, although she did not check the suitability or skills of the people she employed, keep suitable records, or carry out criminal records checks.
Passing sentence, His Honour Judge Martin Picton told Ms Stratford-Tuke that society expected proper regulation of homecare services and proper protection for vulnerable people. He went on to say that her offences were serious and that a custodial sentence was appropriate. The decision to suspend her sentence was based on significant personal mitigation and the fact that no specific harm to people using services had been identified, although the potential was present.
Ms Stratford-Tuke was sentenced to eight months imprisonment, suspended for 18 months, and ordered to undertake 150 hours of Community Payback, or unpaid work. She was also ordered to participate in a 10-hour community course and she was ordered to pay CQC costs of £15,000.
Adrian Hughes, Deputy Chief Inspector of Adult Social Care, said:
"The law requiring registration with the Care Quality Commission exists to protect people who need care in their own homes. All registered providers are then subject to a system of ongoing inspection to ensure that standards are being maintained.
"Providers of personal care services deal in private with people whose circumstances can often make them vulnerable, and who may not be able to report abuse or poor care.
"Ms Stratford-Tuke was deemed unsuitable for registration by CQC due to her conviction for a serious, violent offence and lack of honesty around it, yet she still carried on without keeping proper checks on her staff, or the people in their care. This placed people at significant risk of harm. This prosecution shows that we will not hesitate to take action in the courts to protect people from providers who ignore the requirements of the law."
For media enquiries about the Care Quality Commission, please call the press office on 020 7448 9401 during office hours. Journalists wishing to speak to the press office outside of office hours can find out how to contact the team here. (Please note: the duty press officer is unable to advise members of the public on health or social care matters).
For general enquiries, please call 03000 61 61 61.
- Last updated:
- 29 May 2017
Notes to editors
Mrs Stratford-Tuke appeared before HHJ Picton at Bristol Crown Court for sentencing on Monday 6 July 2015.