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CQC publishes independent investigation into its regulation of 14 Colne Road

13 June 2018
  • Public

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) has today published the findings of an independent investigation into its regulatory oversight of 14 Colne Road, a care home for younger adults with learning disabilities operated by Hillgreen Care Ltd, which closed in January 2017.

CQC commissioned Sir Paul Jenkins KCB QC (Hon) to carry out this work in order to understand whether its regulation of this provider could have been more timely and effective. In his report, Sir Paul also addresses a claim made in The Times in July 2017 that CQC “covered up” an allegation of serious offence at the home in 2015.

The report finds that there was “no evidence whatsoever that there was any “cover-up” at CQC. There was a strong, clear focus at CQC on ensuring that people were safe; and to do so in ways which were most expeditious and effective. As a direct result of CQC enforcement activity, 14 Colne Road was closed several months before the police concluded their investigation into the incident itself."

It does however conclude that "Not everything was perfect in the regulation of 14 Colne Road and Hillgreen. Nor was everything perfect in the CQC’s policies and practices in place at the time”, and points to a “loss of momentum” in taking further enforcement action against the provider; unclear policies about whether serious incidents could be referenced in inspection reports; and a failure to keep the families affected informed.

The review makes 14 recommendations to improve CQC's consistency, policies, processes and training. All recommendations have been accepted in full by the CQC Board and many have already been implemented or are being progressed.

Sir David Behan, Chief Executive of CQC, said:

“I commissioned this independent investigation to identify what we could or should have done differently in our regulation of this service in order to strengthen our future work.

"Sir Paul Jenkins’ report recognises CQC’s “strong, clear focus on keeping people safe”. However, it also highlights areas for improvement, including around enforcement action, consistency, training, and interactions with families. While the report acknowledges that many of these improvements have already been made in the intervening period, there is still undoubtedly more work to be done. Alongside this report we are publishing an action plan setting out how we are addressing or have addressed every recommendation.

"The report also finds the allegation of a ‘cover-up’ relating to an alleged serious offence at this service in 2015 to be “completely without foundation”.

"CQC’s Board today accepted in full the findings and recommendations of this investigation. I am grateful to the late Sir Paul Jenkins for his rigorous and thorough work, and to David Noble QSO for concluding the investigation and reporting under the terms of reference when Sir Paul tragically died in February 2018.”

CQC began the process to cancel the registration of the Colne Road service in February 2016, with the last resident leaving the home in August 2016. The process to cancel the service’s registration concluded in January 2017. The registration of Hillgreen Care Ltd was cancelled altogether in September 2017.

A full CQC criminal investigation has been carried out independent of the original inspection team. Following its conclusion, and upon consideration of the evidential and public interest tests, a decision has been taken to prosecute the company Hillgreen Care Limited for two offences under the Health and Social Care Act (Regulated Activities) Regulations 2014. This case is due to be heard at Highbury Corner Magistrates' Court on 22 October 2018.


Last updated:
05 July 2018