CMA propose sweeping changes to service user contracts
The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) have issued their long-awaited draft Guidance designed to help care home providers comply with their consumer law obligations. This Guidance is still subject to consultation with the final version due in the autumn.
If implemented in its current form (which we consider likely) the proposals contained in the draft Guidance will have wide-reaching implications for the way in which care providers (i) provide information to prospective service users prior to admission and (ii) the terms on which contracts are entered into.
The key areas covered by the Guidance include:
- charging of upfront fees and deposits
- charging fees on death
- increasing fees
- the use of guarantors
- funded Nursing Care (FNC) payments
- fees when a person is absent
- third party top-ups.
What should you be doing now?
Failure to implement the Guidance may put providers in breach of consumer legislation, which could result in enforcement action by the CMA, Trading Standards, CQC and residents.
Most providers will need to amend their current service user contracts to some degree to ensure they do not fall foul of consumer legislation.
To learn more about the proposed changes and find out how how our Health & Social Care team can help, read our latest article in full
Expert advice on your service user contracts
We have developed a model contract which is compliant with consumer and mental capacity legislation but also draws on our experience of resolving contract issues for and protecting providers. It caters for both residential and nursing homes. We also developed a separate contract for domiciliary and community care providers.
For help with amending your service user contracts get intouch with our specialist team.