• Conservatives pledge to extend the “scope” of CQC’s oversight of local authorities
  • Pledge will “take one step further” the CQC’s monitoring of local authority measures to reduce DTOCs
  • Spokesman suggests role will be to reduce “variation in social care performance”

The Conservative party has pledged in today’s manifesto to “extend the scope” of the Care Quality Commission to further regulate the “health related services” of local authorities.

A party spokesman told HSJ that the new commitment would take “one step further” the CQC’s work examining action taken by local authorities to reduce delayed transfers of care.

In its May budget the Treasury committed an additional £2bn to adult social care, with £1bn available in the current financial year, with the direction it iis used to reduce pressure on the NHS by improving patient discharge.

As HSJ first reported in February, the CQC confirmed in its April board meeting that it “expects to be asked by the secretary of state” to monitor how the adult social care sector will use the funding boost to accelerate discharge into the community

The spokesman said the government wanted the CQC to be involved in reviewing how the £2bn is spent “to make sure that it is of genuine benefit and there is an oversight mechanism to improve patient outcomes. This [manifesto pledge] is taking that one step further”.

He continued: “There is variation in social care performance for different local authorities throughout the country and that doesn’t seem to be linked with levels of funding or eligibility. There is an oversight process that is perhaps missing from local authorities and we will look to put that right.”

The full extent of the new role is not clear, including whether it will involve looking at the use of resources of local authorities. The CQC and NHS Improvement will jointly publish its consultation response next month on how it will measure the use of resources within NHS trusts. The consultation makes it clear though that this new oversight tool will be “starting with acute trusts”.

The manifesto also confirmed it wants to ensure that in the future “the care system works better with the NHS to reduce unnecessary and unhealthy hospital stays and delayed transfers of care”.

Currently CQCs adult social care inspectorate covers care homes, domiciliary care services and less widespread services such as supported living schemes.

The CQC declined to comment on the manifesto.