Charity Commission says it has no issue with Scope's proposal to close care homes

In a case report published today, the regulator says that the disability charity's plans to close or downsize a third of its homes were based on 'sufficient and appropriate' evidence

Scope: plans would affect 400 staff
Scope: plans would affect 400 staff

The Charity Commission has said it has no regulatory concerns about the disability charity Scope’s decision to close about a third of its care homes.

The charity announced in January last year that it was proposing to close or downsize 11 of its 35 homes over the next three years, affecting 400 staff.

It said the move was part of the charity’s push towards enabling more disabled people to live independently in the community.

In a case report published on the commission’s website today, the regulator said it looked into the case after it was contacted by people who were concerned that the charity was not properly considering the needs or wishes of its beneficiaries.

Given the charity’s profile and the effect that the changes would have on disabled relatives and their relatives, the commission said, it wanted to be sure that the charity’s trustees were aware of their legal duty to make sure their decisions were based on "sufficient and appropriate evidence, and that they took into account all relevant factors at each stage of their decision-making".

The commission said the charity provided evidence that showed it had taken steps to ensure it consulted beneficiaries and had used an independent advocacy service to enable people with disabilities to express their views.

"While the closure of care homes is likely to be a difficult and controversial process, it is for the trustees to determine how a charity carries out its objects having followed a proper decision-making process," the regulator’s report says.

"Following the assurances and evidence presented to us, we determined that there were not any regulatory concerns."

Mark Atkinson, interim chief executive of Scope, said he was reassured that the commission recognised the steps the charity had taken to support residents through the changes.

"We know that this has been a difficult time for residents and families and that moving home can be challenging," he said. "We have been fully committed to supporting residents and families at the 11 care homes through consultation and independent advocacy."

He said the charity guaranteed that it would support people who might need to move home as a result of the proposals.

"Everyone is different and people will want different types of care," Atkinson said. "We have recently closed three care homes and supported everyone to find suitable new homes and, in some cases, receive additional social care funding; some moved to supported living, others to larger care homes and some moved closer to their families."

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