Monday, 29 December 2008




Care agencies should be compelled to provide accurate statements on their financial position.

The call for accurate financial information to be provided to Local Authorities or the Care Commission by agencies or private companies providing care services follows a case in Falkirk of a care agency entering administration and withdrawing services without notifying the Commission or the local authority.

Falkirk West MSP Michael Matheson is calling for new regulations to ensure that care agencies give early notice of any financial difficulties, rather than leaving it to the point when the shutters are pulled down and vulnerable individuals are left without care.

Mr Matheson has welcomed correspondence from the Care Commission confirming that there is no early warning provision and stating that they are discussing the finances of care providers with COSLA. In a letter to Mr Matheson the Chief Executive of the Care Commission Jacquie Roberts states;

"There are at present no specific provisions which would require a company providing care services to give the Care Commission early notice of financial problems they may be facing"

The Commission continues..

"The Care Commission has been in discussion with COSLA to ensure early discussions between the Care Commission and the Commissioners should a service be in financial difficulty."

SNP MSP Michael Matheson said;

"If a care agency faces financial difficulties it is vulnerable people that are at risk when the shutters come down.

"When People First Care Agency closed and withdrew services it was the local enterprise company, not the agency, which told the local authority.

"Local authorities will always try to fill that breach and Falkirk coped admirably but it is vital that care providers are obliged to keep local authorities and the Care Commission informed of their financial position.

"There should be regulations ordering care agencies to provide the Care Commission and Local Authorities with early warning of any financial difficulties.

"Had this been in place at the time people first when bust, better planning could have been put in place to manage the care arrangements for the many vulnerable people who where dependent on the company.

"It cannot be right that if a private provider goes bust the local enterprise company finds out but not the local authority that will need to provide the services and ensure no one is left without care.

"I welcome the Care Commission and COSLA's recognition that this problem must be tackled. The Care Commission does what it can to ensure agencies start with a sound financial basis, what is needed is a means to ensure they maintain that financial position."

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