• Five unions called vote after CQC planned to cut homeworkers’ broadband provision
  • Vote follows sharp decrease in staff confidence in CQC leadership, revealed last week
  • CQC said it had “tough [budget] choices” to make and “vast majority of people already have unlimited broadband”
  • Unions declined to say how many staff are being balloted

The Care Quality Commission’s senior leadership is facing a vote of no confidence as multiple unions dispute its plans to stop providing broadband to its homeworkers.

Five unions have asked their CQC members to vote on a motion of no confidence in CQC chief executive Ian Trenholm and his executive team.

HSJ revealed last week staff confidence in the CQC board’s ability to “provide clear direction and leadership” had dropped by 10 percentage points last year, according to a staff survey.

The unions said CQC leaders had “ignored” their concerns over the regulator’s plans to stop installing broadband in its homeworker’s properties.

Members of Unison, the Royal College of Nursing, the Public and Commercial Services Union, Unite and Prospect have until Friday 7 February to vote on the no confidence motion.  Unison declined to comment on how many staff were balloted, when the result of the vote would be made public or what the next steps would be if the no confidence vote was carried.

Around 2,000 CQC staff are on homeworking contracts, including many of its inspectors. The regulator said the majority of these already have unlimited broadband in their homes, and those that have not will be reimbursed for any costs of installing new connections.

Speaking on behalf of the five unions, Unison national officer Matthew Egan said: “Staff and unions are disappointed CQC managers have ignored their concerns and seem set on forcing through these unacceptable changes to people’s contracts.

“As a result, the unions have now taken the decision to ballot members in a vote of no confidence in the executive team.”

The CQC said most homeworkers face a “policy change” rather than a contractual issue. It said it had offered goodwill payments of £230 to its homeworkers.

 Mr Trenholm added the CQC had carried out a “meaningful consultation” with the joint trade unions about the broadband changes and the regulator’s leadership were “disappointed that no agreement has been reached”.

He said: “Our focus as an executive team is to make sure the organisation can deliver to encourage providers to improve and ensure the public have access to high-quality services.

“We need to make tough choices with the money we have been entrusted with and use it in the most efficient way.

“We know that for the vast majority of people who already have unlimited broadband provided to their home there will be no extra cost to them and the savings made will be reinvested into making sure health and social care services provide people with safe, effective, compassionate, high-quality care.

“We are continuing to respond to individual concerns and practical challenges and support colleagues as we move forward to implement this change.”