The owner of a domiciliary care agency based in Morley, West Yorkshire, has been ordered to pay £12,000 after she admitted to providing care illegally.
Beverley Bevis appeared before Leeds Magistrates’ Court yesterday (January 7) and was fined £1,500. She was also ordered to pay £10,380.91 in costs and a £170 victim surcharge as a result of the prosecution brought by the Care Quality Commission.
Prior to her sentencing, Bevis pleaded guilty to providing a regulated activity – personal care – in people’s own homes through her company, Five Star Homecare Leeds, without CQC registration.
CQC brought the prosecution after it received feedback in September 2018 from a relative of a service user. At this time, Bevis had not registered with the CQC.
This prompted CQC to begin investigating the company, and inspectors visited the Morley premises, unannounced, three weeks later.
On arrival, they found a large window sticker advertising personal care. It falsely stated that the firm was CQC-approved.
Inspectors also found evidence that the company had 23 staff providing personal care to at least seven people. They also saw staff time sheets and invoices demonstrating that it had been operating illegally.
In April 2020, Five Star Homecare successfully applied for CQC registration – following a robust process – meaning it can now provide a lawful service.
But the service was inspected in November 2020 and rated ‘Requires Improvement’. The CQC said continues to monitor the company, including through future inspections, to ensure people’s safety.
Although CQC understands that Bevis retains involvement with the company, she is not responsible for supervising its regulated activity.
Joyce Frederick, CQC’s deputy chief inspector of registration, said: “It is unacceptable that Beverley Bevis risked people’s safety by running a care service without the benefit of CQC registration, so I welcome her guilty plea.
“The registration process is important to appropriately assess services before they care for people. Services are then monitored and inspected to ensure that they continue to meet standards that people should be able to expect.
“Monitoring of domiciliary care agencies is especially important, as people who receive care in their own homes can be particularly vulnerable because of their circumstances.
“When we find providers operating illegally, we do not hesitate to act to protect people.”