Are staff working for this regulatory authority considered to be 'Public Servants"?

Fiona Watts made this Freedom of Information request to Care Quality Commission

This request has been closed to new correspondence. Contact us if you think it should be reopened.

The request was partially successful.

Dear Care Quality Commission,

I have 3 similar FOI queries.

Since April 2013;

A) How much training has been given to your inspectors about the remit of Public Office and and the requirement to protect the public's trust in the CQC? (I seek clarity; dates, times and length of the training schedules)

B) On which date were staff at the CQC provided with handouts, manuals and/ or reminders to ensure that, I quote;

"A public officer acting as such willfully neglects to perform his duty and/or willfully misconducts himself to such a degree as to amount to an abuse of the public’s trust in the office holder without reasonable excuse or justification".

C) On which date and which departments within the CQC received face to face training or workshops on the civil laws behind the
i)NHS Act, and Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act.
ii) The Equality Act and The Human Rights Act
iii) The Principles of The Data Protection Act
iv) The Misconduct in Public Office Act 2010.

Please note that any responses that lack transparency and cooperation - will mean that further FOI's may be made on here.

Yours faithfully,

Fiona Watts
FionaWatts@magnacarta300

(Member of the phsothefacts pressure group) http://phsothefacts.com/

Information Access, Care Quality Commission

04 January 2016

 

Our Ref: CQC IAT 1516 0716

 

Dear Ms Watts

 

I write to acknowledge your correspondence dated 01 January 2016, where
you asked to be provided with information from the Care Quality Commission
(CQC).

 

Your request is as follows:

 

“A) How much training has been given to your inspectors about the remit of
Public Office and and the requirement to protect the public's trust in the
CQC? (I seek clarity; dates, times and length of the training schedules)

    

B) On which date were staff at the CQC provided with handouts, manuals
and/ or reminders to ensure that, I quote;    

     "A public officer acting as such willfully neglects to perform his

     duty and/or willfully misconducts himself to such a degree as to

     amount to an abuse of the public’s trust in the office holder

     without reasonable excuse or justification".

    

C) On which date and which departments within the CQC received face to
face training or workshops on the civil laws behind the

     i)NHS Act, and Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act.

     Ii) The Equality Act and The Human Rights Act

     iii) The Principles of The Data Protection Act

     iv) The Misconduct in Public Office Act 2010.”

 

We can confirm that your request is now being processed in accordance with
the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA).

 

CQC will endeavour to respond to you as soon as possible but must legally
do so within 20 working days from the date of receipt of your request, as
required by FOIA.

 

You can therefore expect a response from CQC by no later than the close of
business on 29 January 2016. We will inform you if we are unable to meet
this deadline.

 

If you have any queries please do not hesitate to contact the team on the
telephone number provided, quoting our reference number.

 

Yours sincerely

 

 

 

Information Access Team

Information Rights

Care Quality Commission

 

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Information Access, Care Quality Commission

1 Attachment

12 January 2016

 

Our Ref: CQC IAT 1516 0716

 

Dear Ms Watts

 

Thank you for your correspondence of 1 January 2016 in which you asked
for information about the requirements of a public office and training
given to CQC staff. We are unable to provide specific dates of training
for the questions asked, as due to the size of CQC’s workforce, and
training will take place on different dates depending on when an employee
is inducted into the organisation or when the training is arranged for
different areas of the country. Some of the training is also in the form
of e-learning so is completed at each staff members convenience, or during
the induction programme when they commence employment with CQC. Some
training is also required to be completed on an annual basis.

 

To collate the data for all of CQC’s inspection staff would take a
significant amount of time for CQC. We therefore consider that section 12
of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 applies to your request. This
allows for requests to be refused where answering the request would exceed
the limit of 18 hours.

 

Whilst this is unfortunate, CQC have provided a response to the remaining
parts of your request for information, by way of reasonable advice and
assistance, and have provided explanations of the training our staff
undertake and where possible the numbers of staff who have completed each
training.

 

“A) How much training has been given to your inspectors about the remit of
Public Office and the requirement to protect the public's trust in the
CQC? (I seek clarity; dates, times and length of the training schedules)”

  

Please see our following response:

A)  We would expect that through our values based interview approach that
staff joining the CQC are fully aware of the requirements of public
office.  Once appointed to a role in CQC, induction and management
practices ensure these values are embedded in what we do.

 

All new staff (during induction) and existing staff have access to the CQC
Code of Conduct which is available on the CQC intranet. This sets out the
standards of conduct expected of all employees. A revised version of this
policy was issued in November 2015 which includes the new Declaration of
Interest and Resolution of Conflicts policy as an appendix. Both documents
refer specifically to the updated Nolan Principles of Public Life.

 

On 16 November 2015 the policy was made available to staff on using our
online Education and Development system. It is now a mandatory requirement
for all staff to review the documentation, acknowledge they understand
their responsibilities and disclose any potential conflicts of
interest. Once completed line managers are informed their staff have
completed the process and further action taken initiated if required.
Staff are required to update the information on an annual basis, more
frequently if any circumstances change that require disclosure. Our
records show that so far 1337 staff have completed the code of conduct
learning, this includes 624 inspectors. Our records show that 2841 have
completed the declaration of interests, 1254 of these are inspection
staff.

 

In addition all staff are required to complete the Cabinet Offices’
Counter Fraud e-learning module. This is a 45 minute e-learning course.
The recent (Oct 2015) refresh of the Counter Fraud policy includes the
updated Nolan principles which detail the standards of behaviour in public
office. Our Information Security team publicised the re-issue of the
policy at the end of last year and requested all staff to complete the
e-learning in Jun/Jul 2015. The number of inspection staff that has
completed this programme is 1673. 

 

This provides explicit training in the requirements of public office. As
part of corporate induction and role specific induction for inspectors we
include a session on Public Law requirements and this reinforces the
responsibilities of our employees to be honest, objective and have
integrity.

 

CQC also has a set of values which guides all our staff in ‘how’ we do
things.  These values of Excellence, Caring, Integrity and Teamwork are
included in our corporate induction for all new staff.  Information is
available on our intranet which provides updates on our work in pursuit of
our values which I have attached.  Although we integrate our values into
our everyday practice we have a dedicated month (November) to refresh,
share good practice and re-energise our staff in being the best they can
be. We also hold ourselves and others to account and challenge those
behaviours which are not aligned with our stated values. This is
reiterated through all our learning activities, our policies and guidance
so that it promotes the culture we wish to have. 

 

“B) On which date were staff at the CQC provided with handouts, manuals
and/ or reminders to ensure that, I quote;    

     "A public officer acting as such wilfully neglects to perform his

     duty and/or wilfully misconducts himself to such a degree as to

     amount to an abuse of the public’s trust in the office holder

     without reasonable excuse or justification.”

 

CQC response:  

B)   As stated above the requirements about behaviours are reiterated
through many learning programmes and management practices within CQC.  It
would be onerous to provide evidence of all of these sources. The message
to our staff is a consistent one to behave with integrity, operate in line
with the stated CQC values and all contribute to the purpose of CQC. Such
activities as Leaders blogs, weekly messages from the Chief Executive,
Team Briefing and Specific focussed activities all relate to our staff to
perform in their role as required by our stated values and those of public
office.

 

There are some specific programmes and details are included here:

·         The Civil Service learning eLearning module counter fraud,
bribery and corruption. The content includes the seven principles of
public life. As it is an e-learning module completion dates vary so we are
not able to provide individual dates. 1060 staff have completed this
programme of these 532 are inspectors

·         The Protecting Information Level 1 programme which is eLearning
therefore dates of completion vary, so individual dates are not
provided. To date, 1939 have completed the training of which 889 are
inspection staff

 

During role specific induction all new inspectors have a session which
covers risk management. This content includes risks to people who use
services, risks associated with the services that we regulate and the
potential of reputational risk to CQC.

 

  

“C) On which date and which departments within the CQC received face to
face training or workshops on the civil laws behind the

     i) NHS Act, and Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act.

     Ii) The Equality Act and The Human Rights Act

     iii) The Principles of The Data Protection Act

     iv) The Misconduct in Public Office Act 2010.”

 

CQC response:

C)   The above legislation is referenced at each of the role specific
induction programmes for ASC, Hospitals and PMS. Information is available
with up to date links on the CQC intranet. Updates are communicated to
staff through operational updates, team meetings and regional events.
Staff are reminded frequently of working within the legislation that
underpins the CQC’s role as a regulator.

 

There have been specific information and training sessions for staff
relating to Equality, Diversity and Human Rights, Data Protection and
Safeguarding.

           

i)             NHS Act – new staff during induction have access to
appropriate legislation that impacts on their work role. There is a 4-6
week cycle of induction programmes which have been frequent over the last
18 months due to our high recruitment activity. As the NHS Act was
introduced in 2006 staff would have been briefed at that time about the
roles and responsibilities. These sessions precede our online Education
and Development System so records are not available.

Safeguarding: Our own staff are subject to the DBS process. In training
our staff to be, inspectors, will have a one day learning event on
Safeguarding plus technical training on how to record activities in our
CQC database (*CRM). Our processes have been updated and in
July/August 2015 we had 4 briefing sessions to outline the improved
approach to Safeguarding at CQC. There is a safeguarding handbook and we
have two national advisers to support our staff with any professional
support they may need in this area.

 

ii)            The Equality Act and The Human Rights Act. In 2015 CQC
introduced a comprehensive programme of learning delivered by the British
Institute of Human Rights. The programme included an eLearning module on
unconscious bias, a half day workshop for all staff about the impact of
EDHR in all our work and a longer one day programme for inspection
staff. This included content on looking to see that people who use
services have their equality and diversity and human rights respected by
the providers of those services. 

 

o The Unconscious Bias module. As this is an e-learning module
completion dates vary so we are not able to provide individual
dates. 2163 staff have completed this programme of these 1014 are
inspectors
o The one day programme which has been offered on numerous dates across
the country in 2015 has been attended by 694 inspection staff to date.
This programme continues until 31.3.2016. 
o The half day workshop has been attended by 574 non inspection staff.
Again the programme has been offered across England on various
dates. This programme continues until 31.3.2016. 

 

iii)           The Principles of the Data Protection Act are covered in
the Protecting Information eLearning programme. For new inspectors the
sessions on Public law, risk management and evidence gathering also
provide learning and guidance on the impact of the data protection act.

iv)            The Bribery Act 2010 is covered in the Civil Service
Learning Counter Fraud, Bribery and Corruption eLearning module.

  

I hope that this detailed response is helpful to you.

 

Feedback

 

CQC will always endeavour to provide the highest quality responses to
requests for information and seek to provide responses that are as helpful
as possible. We would therefore appreciate if you can complete our online
feedback form by visiting the following website:

 

[1]http://webdataforms.cqc.org.uk/Checkbox/...

 

Any information you provide will be held securely and only used for the
purposes of improving the Information Rights service that CQC provide.

 

If you have any queries please do not hesitate to contact the team, on the
telephone number provided, quoting our reference number.

 

Yours sincerely

 

The Information Access Team

Legal Services and Information Rights

Care Quality Commission

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References

Visible links
1. http://webdataforms.cqc.org.uk/Checkbox/...

Dear Information Access,

Thank you for your reply.

MAKING SENSE OF YOUR FIGURES.
STEP ONE;
In order that I can make sense of your figures, please could you put them into context?
For example, you wrote;

Our records show that so far 1337 staff have completed the code of conduct learning, this includes 624 inspectors. Our records show that 2841 have completed the declaration of interests, 1254 of these are inspection staff.

1. You inform me that 1337 staff completed the code of conduct learning but I unable to clearly see how many staff were employed by CQC at the time?
2. Which date are you referring to for your figures? I ask this because your provide a much higher quota for those employees who have engaged with reviewing the revised Declaration of Interests.

3. Please could you explain why nearly twice more staff completed the declaration of interests compared to those who completed the code of conduct learning? How should one view those figures? On the face of it the figures imply that the code of conduct was not a priority and not updated or subject to review?
4. Is there a difference in job titles when you write "inspectors" and "inspection staff"?

5. You write that it is "a mandatory requirement" for staff to complete the declaration of interests forms; but where is the clarity in explaining whether the same priority is given to staff understanding their code of conduct?

6. Where can service users review the CQC's Code of Conduct?
7. How could one be informed as to whether CQC inspectors who have visited their post code, had engaged, learned and completed the required CQC Code of Conduct manuals?

Yours sincerely,

Fiona Watts

fionawatts@magnacarta300
A member of the volunteer led PHSO Pressure Group "phsothefacts"

Charlotte Peters Rock left an annotation ()

Comprehensive and accurate answers to these questions are vital to public trust.

It is interesting to see that the term 'completed' is used, in respect of mandatory information. What does that mean? Does imply that such learning is examinable, and regularly expected to be put into publicly protective practice?

Fiona Watts left an annotation ()

Thank you Charlotte,

You are right and I hope that your annotation will make the CQC alert to the need for them to stop "phaffing" and bring clarity to their answers.

Do we need a ANOTHER regulatory body to ensure that CQC are properly regulated? Who is ensuring that this NHS department is not just a waste of public resources?

Dear Information Access,

Since meeting one of your key representatives at Westminster in OCTOBER 2014; I am losing more and more trust in your organisation. Its simple, do your staff consider that that they are Public Servants or not?

As you know, I once felt passionate about being a Public Servant . I once believed that it was the best job one could have.

Yours sincerely,

Fiona Watts

Information Access, Care Quality Commission

Dear Ms Watts

Public Servant is not a term we use in our policies, role descriptions or contracts of employment, therefore we cannot answer this question under FOIA.

I can advise you that I consider myself to be a public servant, and I believe that this view is shared by my colleagues within CQC.

Simon

Simon Richardson
Information Rights Manager
Legal Services & Information Rights
Care Quality Commission

The Care Quality Commission is the independent regulator of all health and adult social care in England. www.cqc.org.uk. For general enquiries, telephone the National Contact Centre: 03000 616161.
Statutory requests for information made pursuant to access to information legislation, such as the Data Protection Act 1998 and the Freedom of Information Act 2000, should be sent to: [CQC request email]

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Dear Information Access,

Thank you Simon.
It's considerate of you to provide me with a "Simon says" moment.

Kind regards

Fiona Watts

FionaWatts@magnacarta300

Information Access, Care Quality Commission

1 Attachment

Dear Ms Watts

 

In response to your additional questions below we can now provide the
following answers that have been given by our Human Resources colleagues:

 

1&2. The response provided was correct as of 5 January 2016. As of this
date CQC employed 3360 individuals which has a full time equivalent of
3248.75

 

3. The Declaration of Interests was published in April 2015.  Code of
Conduct was published on 17 November.  Both are equally important and must
be completed by all staff.  The seven month difference between the
policies is reflected in the take up of the associated learning.
Monitoring of the completion of any learning and development is undertaken
and our business managers do send reminders to staff who have not
undertaken appropriate training.

 

4. Inspection staff  would include  a wider group of staff that are
employed by the inspection directorate rather than the cohort of employees
who are inspectors.

 

5. It is mandatory and a priority.  As explained, there is a difference of
seven months between the launch dates of the two policies.

 

6. Please see attached the code of conduct. This document is not publicly
available, but can be requested under FOIA.

 

7. This is not a question CQC could answer. This would require a detailed
analysis of every individual who had attended an inspection in a
particular area, and would then require it to cross reference each
individual against HR records. It would likely exceed the cost limits of
FOIA and constitute the personal data of those individuals.

 

As part of our contract with staff they are required to work within the
policies and procedures set out by CQC. Failure to adhere to policies can
be considered a disciplinary matter.

 

Your sincerely

 

The Information Access Team

Legal Services & Information Rights

Care Quality Commission

Citygate

Gallowgate

Newcastle Upon Tyne, NE1 4PA

 

Fax: 03000 200 240

 

The Care Quality Commission is the independent regulator of all health and
adult social care in England. www.cqc.org.uk. For general enquiries, call
the National Customer Service Centre (NCSC) on 03000 616161 or email
[email address].

 

Statutory requests for information made under access to information
legislation such as the Data Protection Act 1998 and the Freedom of
Information Act 2000 should be sent to: [CQC request email].

 

 

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Charlotte Peters Rock left an annotation ()

Why are CQC staff not - very regularly - told and reminded that they are both paid by the public and are public servants?

Is it that senior executives refuse to act 'in the public service'? If so, in whose service do they consider they act?

We pay. We expect good value for money, from people who do not brush away members of their paying public (ie employers) when they raise genuine concerns.

As an example: Whilst the attitude of CQC is slowly improving since the Dame Jo Williams fiasco in and around the Commons Health Select Committee in 2012, it is interesting, and a sad reflection on public life, that she is still styled 'Dame' - and turning up quietly at other health organisations, for over-highly paid posts - just as if that disgraceful episode, with it's concommitant, injuries , deaths and lack of oversight had never happened at Mid Staffs and Winterbourne view.. and against her own distressed colleague.

The attitude urgently needs to change, with 'public service' placed as the highest priority.. and an open blacklisting system in place.

Our public servants need to know just whose needs they should be serving.

Fiona Watts left an annotation ()

Charlotte,

I totally agree with you. Thank you for your annotation. I need the support!

The style in which the "public sector" staff respond to my FOI's on here demonstrates the failure of their teams to understand that they are "public servants".

I used to be proud to call myself a 'public servant" ... wish to have nothing to do with any of them now.

FionaWatts@magnacarta300

Fiona Watts left an annotation ()

Charlotte,

On 14th January your wrote;

"Comprehensive and accurate answers to these questions are vital to public trust.

It is interesting to see that the term 'completed' is used, in respect of mandatory information. What does that mean? Does imply that such learning is examinable, and regularly expected to be put into publicly protective practice?".

Did the CQC BRING CLARITY to their answers here?