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Providers to work with Trading Standards as new consumer law rules begin to bite

September 25, 2019

Social care providers have come together to work out how best to meet new consumer law compliance rules, and how to respond if they are challenged by regulatory bodies such as Trading Standards and the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA).

As part of the Care Provider Alliance (CPA), Care England, National Care Association, National Care Forum and Registered Nursing Homes Association are working together on a pilot project regarding consumer protection law and the CMA Consumer Guidance for Care Homes, to enter into a co-ordinated ‘Primary Authority Partnership’ with Trading Standards on behalf of its members to support consistency in the interpretation and enforcement of consumer protection legislation and provide authoritative advice to members.

Using the CPA contract clauses and CPA guide to the consumer law requirements published on September 10, the partnership will provide members of the four associations back up if challenged by regulators – Trading Standards, CQC and others – about certain aspects of their self funder contracts, websites and marketing materials.

Provided members follow the CPA materials then they can refer queries from their local Trading Standards or other regulator, who may take a different view and believe that the provider is non-compliant, to Hampshire Trading Standards stating that they have followed the guidance provided and are a member of the Primary Authority partnership.

Ian Turner who is the leading the partnership for the four associations said it was the first time such a partnership on this issue had been formed.

“We will be monitoring, over this next year, how it works and what benefits it brings to our members,” Mr Turner said.

“We have entered into the partnership with the support of the DHSC and as such will also work with them on defining metrics to measure the success of the project.”

The CPA says the legislation, which is subject to case law, is being enforced locally by Trading Standards (although some providers may hear directly from the CMA, CQC, commissioners, residents and families) and hence there is a need for all regulators to consistently interpret the legislation and CMA Guidance for Care Homes. Hampshire County Council Trading Standards will be a single point of contact for other regulators.

  • The Care Provider Alliance guidance on consumer law for care homes is now live on the CPA website. The link is: careprovideralliance.org.uk/consumer-law-for-care-homes.html

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