Journal Article

Lay Assessors and Care Home Inspections: Is There a Future?

Fay Wright

in The British Journal of Social Work

Published on behalf of British Association of Social Workers

Volume 35, issue 7, pages 1093-1106
Published in print October 2005 | ISSN: 0045-3102
Published online June 2005 | e-ISSN: 1468-263X | DOI:
Lay Assessors and Care Home Inspections: Is There a Future?

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This paper reports on research funded by the Nuffield Foundation exploring the role of lay assessors in the care home inspection process in England and Wales. Lay people have been included in many care home inspections for the past decade. Similar lay involvement is included in other public service inspections such as the Office for Standards in Education (OFSTED) inspections of schools. The Board of the short-lived National Care Standards Commission (NCSC) controversially decided to dispense with such lay involvement in the inspection process. The replacement body, the Commission for Social Care Inspection (CSCI), intends to include lay people in the inspections of support services in the community but is hesitating about reintroducing them into care home inspections. This research project was able to explore the role taken by lay assessors in thirteen inspections of care homes for older people and for adults with learning disabilities. The research concluded that lay assessors had a significant role in communicating with residents and staff and observing care home life. Their role was particularly important, as inspectors were often so involved in paperwork and checking policy compliance with the national minimum standards that they were often able to spend little, if any, time talking to residents or staff. It is argued that there is considerable potential for a strengthened role of lay people in the care home inspection process.

Keywords: care home inspections; lay assessors; older care home residents; adult care home residents with learning disabilities

Journal Article.  5755 words. 

Subjects: Social Work

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