Care homes to get ratingsIt's hoped star ratings will raise standards

29 June 2006

Care homes for elderly and disabled people are to be given hotel-style star ratings in a bid to improve standards, it's reported today.

The Times is reporting that the Commission for Social Care Inspection (CSCI) is to rate care homes for the elderly and disabled on a four-star rating system. Those at the top of the scale will be awarded four stars while the poorest performers would receive just one star.

Details of the rating system are expected to be published in a consultation document next month with the new star-ratings being introduced from April next year.

Minimum standards

Currently care homes - which generally charge between GBP 21,000 and GBP 42,000 a year for a place - have to meet minimum standards.

The idea of the scheme is to give the people who run care homes an incentive to improve standards and also let residents and their relatives know what level of care to expect.

Dame Denise Platt, Chairman of the CSCI, which registers, inspects and reports on social care services in England, told The Times that there was currently no clear link between the fees charged and the quality of care provided by care homes.

Comparisons

She said that although people could read the CSCI's reports about individual homes, there was no way to make direct comparisons between homes and she hoped this system would address that.

In December 2003, Which? asked the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) to investigate the care homes sector. We were concerned about issues including whether private residents subsidised others whose care was paid for by public authorities.

In May 2005, the OFT published recommendations. It wanted clear and upfront information on contracts and prices to be available to consumers, which we welcomed.