• Tribunal rules in favour of CQC in challenge brought by a private provider
  • Lifeways Community Care launched an appeal with the Care Standards tribunal after the CQC refused to register its new learning disability care home

A tribunal has backed the Care Quality Commission for a second time over its refusal to register a new “campus style” learning disability care home.

The quality and safety regulator was taken to a care standards tribunal earlier this year by Lifeways Community Care, over its refusal to register a new nine-bedded residential care unit in Walsall, for people with a learning disability and/or mental health needs.

This unit is next to another care home for patients with learning disabilities which the provider already runs.

In 2017, the CQC published new regulations for the registration of services for people with learning disabilities and/or autism, which state it will not register any large or campus-style care units. Typically, new units would need to be for six or fewer people to be approved, it said.

The regulations were brought in to support the Transforming Care programme which sought to improve community services and reduce the number of people with learning disabilities and/or autism within institutional-type inpatient units.

Lifeways Community Care argued that more people will remain in hospital without the facility.

But the tribunal panel said:Our unanimous view was that despite the obvious good will and efforts of the appellant’s [Lifeways Community Care] employees at Springside, nonetheless it was obvious that the proposed care home had an institutional look to it and clearly had the characteristics of a campus style setting which stood out and was apart from the surrounding neighbourhood.”

In a similar case in July 2017, the CQC won a tribunal against a provider called Oakview Estates, which argued the regulator was “acting outside of its powers” after its application to open a new home was refused.

A spokesman for Lifeways Community Care said: “Lifeways are disappointed by the tribunal decision, as we felt strongly that the homes we are providing are of a high standard, meet the needs of local people, and also meet the principles of ‘Registering the Right Support’, principles that we support.”

Joyce Frederick, deputy chief inspector for registration at the CQC, said: “This recognises the important role that the CQC has in making decisions about registration that protect and promote the health, safety and welfare of people with complex learning disabilities and or autism.”