A care provider offering home care for people with dementia and learning and physical disabilities in Cornwall is under investigation by various regulatory authorities.

Cornwall Council is now ceasing any further care packages with the company until the outcome of the investigation is known.

The Packet has been told that no extra care packages will be provided from Cornwall Council to Faith In Me, which is based at Roche, near St Austell, until investigations are concluded.

A spokesperson for Cornwall Council said: “We have been made aware of concerns relating to the care and support provided by Faith in Me homecare.

"It is our overall aim to make sure that people in Cornwall receive the highest standard of care and support possible and we are working with Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Integrated Care Board, the Care Quality Commission and the provider to ensure people are being given the care they need.

“Our adult social care teams are working with those affected and anyone with concerns is asked to get in touch by calling 0300 123 4100.”

Faith In Me is provided and run by Darrell Heather, who in a letter to clients has promised to "make massive improvements."

The most recent CQC inspection, in September 2022, found the business required improvement overall, with a “requires improvement” rating in the four areas of being safe, effective, responsive and well-led. It received a rating of “good” for being caring. At the time of the inspection there were 64 people using the service.

The CQC inspection report states: “We were prompted to carry out this inspection due to concerns we received about poor management processes, low staffing, poor staff training and support and staff behaviour. A decision was made for us to inspect and examine those risks.

“Risks were not always assessed, monitored or reviewed which did not reduce the risk of avoidable harm. Where we identified some risk assessments were missing from some care plans, we asked the provider to complete them immediately. Staff did not follow the service policy when supporting people with their finances.

“The service was fully staffed at the time of the inspection. However, frequent short notice sickness absence was requiring the management team to cover visits on a regular basis. Recruitment processes were not always robust. This did not ensure that all staff were safe to work alone with vulnerable people.

“Care plans did not always contain accurate information. Some information was out of date such as referring to previous accommodation issues when the person had moved house. Care plans did not always contain sufficient guidance and direction for staff.”

The report continued: “People were supported by staff who had mostly been appropriately trained and were skilled in their role. Some staff needed to complete required training.

"Staff told us they were regularly supported through supervision and informal meetings at people’s homes. However, the records held by the provider showed that supervision was not being provided in accordance with the policy held by the service.

“The provider did not have effective quality assurance systems in place to monitor the quality and safety of the care provided. Spot checks were carried out to monitor staff performance and people were asked for their views and their suggestions were used to improve the service and make any necessary changes.

“However, the provider told us they did not have the time to monitor care plans, risk assessments, medicine records, or recruitment processes.”

The CQC inspection added: “People and their relatives spoke positively about staff and told us they were happy with the service they received. People told us staff were friendly, they were treated with kindness and compassion and their privacy and dignity was respected.

"People told us they felt safe with staff. There were systems to help protect people from abuse and to investigate any allegations, incidents or accidents.”

When contacted, Mr Heather said he didn’t want to comment until the investigation was completed.

In a letter to clients, Mr Heather said: “As Cornwall Safeguarding Process we are working with them. I am writing to inform you all that as organisation (sic) we are now in Safeguarding Measures this means organisation and safeguarding enquiries are being made at an organisational level.

“This will mean Cornwall Council and safeguarding will be working with myself to make improvements to the service are being met. Thank you all for you all using service. We will make massive improvements for you all to provide the care and support you all deserve.”