• CQC makes wage pledge to all “experts by experience”’ who transfer to new contractor
  • Move follows anger at reports that Remploy was planning to cut hourly rates by more than half
  • All who transfer will be guaranteed £15 per hour for first six months of the contract

The Care Quality Commission has made a six-month wage guarantee to its “experts by experience” in an attempt to dampen escalating controversy over reported moves to cut their pay.

Experts by experience are people with personal experience of health and social care services employed to bring a service user perspective to CQC inspections.

Last December the regulator announced that it had awarded contracts to provide and manage future experts by experience to Remploy in its north, south and London regions, and to Choice Support in its central region.

The programme was previously provided by charities such as Age UK.

The CQC said the new contracts, which are worth £7m a year, would allow it to increase its use of the advisers by 50 per cent.

However the regulator has been criticised following reports that Remploy, which is majority owned by the US firm Maximus, was planning to cut the experts’ pay from £17 per hour to £9.40 in London and £8.25 elsewhere. Some experts by experience have said they will quit because of the pay cut. 

The CQC has said it is limited in what in can say about the contracts because its negotiations with the suppliers have not finished.

But yesterday the regulator pledged that existing experts by experience who choose to transfer to Remploy will get an hourly rate of £15 for the first six months of the contract, which begins on 1 February.

It said new long term pay rates for existing and new experts had “not yet been finalised”.

CQC director of engagement Chris Day said: “We have listened to the concerns that some experts by experience have raised with us about the changes to their contracts – and although we do not set pay rates, we have tried to address these concerns and to ensure as much protection for existing experts as possible.

“We sincerely hope that the experts who currently work with us will continue to do so. Our increased investment in the experts by experience programme demonstrates how much we value the involvement of experts in our work and the individual expertise and experience they bring to our inspections, policies, strategies and training of our own staff.”