Anthony Collins Solicitors has been shortlisted for two Child Brain Injury Trust (CBIT) Diamond Awards.
The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has published its final advice to help care homes understand their wider obligations to residents, and prospective residents, under consumer law.
The guidance makes clear how the CMA will decide whether care homes are treating residents and their representatives fairly and addresses many of the issues we have highlighted in our previous briefings (see the bottom of this article for links to these). The CMA has considered the wider process, where providers engage with potential residents and their representatives; from the point of first contact through to how the contractual relationship is managed and what happens when the residents move out or pass away.
The CMA and Trading Standards have a wide variety of powers available to them in situations where they believe that providers are in breach of consumer law. This includes bringing court proceedings to stop infringements, seeking compensation on behalf of residents and, in some cases, bringing criminal prosecutions. In addition, residents may be able to seek damages in the Courts and unfair terms will not be enforceable against them or their representatives.
We have already seen several providers come under scrutiny and agree variations to their contracts (in accordance with the CMA’s instructions):
- In January 2018, the Maria Mallaband Care Group dropped the use of a contract term which required residents to pay one month’s care fees following the death of a resident.
- In May 2018, Sunrise Senior Living agreed to pay out more than £2 million in compensation where residents had been charged an ‘upfront fee’, sometimes to the value of £3,000 per resident.
- This December 2018, Care UK has been asked to refund 1,600 residents the £3,000 (on average) ‘administration fee’ charged as a compulsory upfront fee, or face legal action.
The CMA continues to scrutinise contracts and take enforcement action. Whilst it is the Courts that ultimately decide whether consumer law has been breached, the guidance sets out the new regulatory landscape for consumer protection in the care sector and provides a clear explanation where investigative action will be taken, or prosecutions brought. Those providers who are in the process of communicating fee reviews to their residents should tread carefully and check whether their contract terms support the changes that are proposed.
We will be running a series of workshops in the new year which are designed to take delegates through the guidance, discuss whether the Courts might take a different approach to the CMA and to share examples of good practice when developing your customer contracts.
The full guidance and summary notes are available here.
For more information
If you would like further information regarding this e-briefing, or for any enquiries relating to residential care, please contact Emma Watt.
Previous residential care contracts e-briefings:
Tom Gregory gives his perspective on mediation as a newly qualified solicitor.
Kelly Brown talks us through why she chose to become a mediator within family law.
What are the Covid-19 conundrums facing employers as we head into this year? Here are our top six along with some suggested solutions
When I started on my mediation journey, I did so on the basis that I wanted to help parties come to arrangements for their families and mitigate animosity that court proceedings inevitably led to.
Family mediation is one of several options that couples have when resolving child or financial issues that may arise during a separation process.
Matt Wort, partner and head of the health and social care team at Anthony Collins Solicitors (ACS), a national law firm with offices in Birmingham and Manchester, has been named as one of the The Lawy
Family mediation is a process in which a professionally trained mediator, who is independent to both parties, helps you work out arrangements for your child(ren) and/or the division of finances follow
In the run-up to Christmas with the 'will they, won’t they cancel Christmas?' question clouding our thoughts, only the eagle-eyed will have noted a key Government announcement on Christmas Eve; temporary changes to the Health and Care Worker visa mean care workers will be eligible to work in the UK under this visa.
Recent Charity Commission inquiries and their implications for trustees, updates to guidance on volunteering and safeguarding and the steps you can take to prevent your charity falling victim to fraud
To receive invitations to our events, as well as information and articles on legal issues and sector developments that are of interest to you, please sign up to Newsroom.