A home care provider has been ordered to make urgent improvements after inspectors found it was failing to protect the safety and welfare of vulnerable people in its care.
Both Worlds Community Interest Company, based in Southampton, received three formal warnings from a standards watchdog. The Care Quality Commission inspected the not-for-profit organisation, which gives care and support to people living in their own homes, in October.
Inspectors found it failed to meet the standard required in the care and welfare of people using the service, safeguarding the people who use the service from abuse and supporting workers.
Action was also needed to improve how it monitors and assesses service quality.
Both Worlds CIC, based at the Solent Business Centre in Millbrook Road West, admitted that it had not been on top of its record-keeping and was working on the areas identified, but argued it did assess the needs and risks of its patients.
The company, which has been trading for just over a year, employs 27 staff and cares for around 50 people with a range of disabilities in the Southampton area. It has been told to send the CQC a report setting out the action it will take.
The CQC said it would be making another unannounced inspection in the near future and said if the agency was not making progress, it would not hesitate to use legal powers.
These include, in the most serious cases, suspending or cancelling a service, financial penalties or prosecution of the provider.
Service users told CQC inspectors that they were pleased with the service and that staff respected their privacy, dignity and wishes.
However, inspectors found that care plans did not always contain an assessment of people’s needs and were sometimes incomplete, which put people at risk of receiving inappropriate or unsafe care.
In one case, a support plan showed that the person was prescribed a particular medication but a staff member who supported the person said they did not know if they were still taking it.
Inspectors also criticised that staff did not always know what action to take if they suspected that someone was being abused.
There was no documented safeguarding policy or procedure in place and no whistle blowing policy.
The report also raised concerns that records showed staff had begun work supporting people without any new training taking place, or evidence that appropriate training had previously taken place. There was no system in place to identify training required and no system of formal supervision or appraisal.
A spokesman for Both Worlds CIC said it acknowledged that as a “very small and young social enterprise” built by both service users and care workers, it had not been on top of its record-keeping and formalising systems and processes. “We recognise that we have to get these right to evidence best practice,” he said. “However, what the inspectors do not say is that our service users are pleased with our service, including those whose needs could not be met by other local agencies.
“Furthermore, we get to know our service users well and do assess their needs and take risk into consideration.
“Our team is working very hard to put our ‘failings’ right and provide an empowering service to enable people to live the lives of their choice.” Hampshire County Council said it did not have any contract for care provision with Both Worlds CIC. Southampton City Council failed to provide details of whether it uses the agency.