Our thanks to BABICM for inviting us to write this article to follow up on our industry wide communication setting out the due diligence that Irwin Mitchell LLP (IM) will be undertaking when deciding on the most suited case manager to instruct on behalf of our clients.
It is hoped this article will further explain the reasons behind the various due diligence criteria set and provide reassurance to BABICM members about the approach we intend to take around implementation of the new policy.
We want to stress at the outset, that we see this as a collaborative process with a highly valued network of likeminded professionals. We pride ourselves at IM on building positive and long-lasting relationships with the multi-disciplinary teams involved in supporting our clients. This is evidenced by our longstanding relationships with BABICM members and the therapists that we instruct to work alongside you. It is our intention to continue to build on those relationships, as well as encourage and support newer entrants to the market.
The aim of the new due diligence criteria is to support our staff at IM to better understand the case management market and to apply a fair, transparent and consistent approach to instructions. We have ensured that this new process is therefore embedded across our complex personal injury and medical negligence teams as well as the court of protection team.
It is also important to add that whilst these criteria are being measured on all cases where we have case managers instructed, it is not intended to be applied with absolute vigour from day one. We will instead be engaging with BABICM members to agree a timeframe and approach to work towards compliance with the relevant criteria. In the interim we do not intend to move instructions from the instructed case managers.
We sincerely hope that with the progress being made by the Institute of Registered Case Managers (IRCM) and other organisations; various aspects of our due diligence criteria may become superfluous over time, as the case management sector itself becomes more aligned in terms of case managers being able to apply for and hold an accredited case management registration.
Turning to the criteria itself and the reasoning for the same, we have attempted to set out below some of the common themes that have arisen from interactions to date.
Common themes arising from our due diligence criteria:
With thanks to the industry for your co-operation in completing the due diligence questionnaires, we have applied a Red; Amber; Green (RAG) rating to your alignment with our criteria. Bespoke reports setting out your rating and reasons for the same have been sent to you.
We appreciate that the Care Quality Commission or The Care and Social Services Inspectorate Wales (CSSIW) registration takes time and involves significant cost. If you are undertaking regulated activity and are registered with CQC or CSSIW, but still awaiting assessment and rating, we are placing the case management company as an Amber rating and will keep this under review until the process of registration with the CQC or CSSIW has been completed.
It is also appreciated that there may be cases where no regulated activity is taking place and that it is entirely appropriate to utilise a case management company who are not registered. This is why we have encouraged our colleagues at IM to take a case specific approach and to use the due diligence criteria to guide the decision making process, but to have the ability to depart from the same where it is appropriate to do so, and in the client’s best interests. In such cases the case handler will need to seek agreement to the alternative approach, from the Deputy for our Court of Protection practitioners or the regional Partner for serious injury and medical negligence based colleagues.
Advanced BABICM Practitioner registration
The reason for this as a starting point is that it provides reassurance for the instructing party as to case managers’ experience and competency. We are aware that not all case managers can be Advanced Practitioners (AP) given the passage of time needed to gain the experience required and that there may be delays for those seeking this status due to the limited number of people able to undertake the peer review process.
The absence of AP status will not in itself prevent IM case handers from instructing you. It is merely an objective standard in terms of the experience and compliance with the relevant competencies. It will still be possible for case handlers at IM to instruct a case manager who has not yet achieved AP status. It will simply mean that they need to gather a little more information on the individual case manager’s experience and competencies and the supervision structures in place within their practice.
The starting point is for £10million across Professional Indemnity insurance; Public Liability Insurance and Employers Liability Insurance. We are in close discussions with leading insurance providers regarding this level of cover to confirm that these cover levels are attainable. We believe that to be the case but that it may take some time to make the necessary policy amendments with the underwriters. In the interim, those who have, what appears to be fairly standard £6 million cover, are being rated as Amber on the RAG status, which means that they can still be instructed by IM case handlers.
You may be wondering why we have set the bar at the £10 million level if the industry standard appears to currently be closer to £6 million. The answer to this is straightforward, with the changes to the discount rate, personal injury damages awards have increased significantly over recent years, whilst cover limits on insurance premiums within your sector appear to have remained fairly static. We believe that the cover limits therefore need to increase to reflect the changing landscape in terms of the value of awards.
The problem with case management is that case management activity can cut across the various insurance categories.
We appreciate that the number of claims faced by case managers will be infrequent and those exceeding the present £6 million cover limits will be even fewer. However, we believe that it is necessary to ensure that our clients are protected fully even in these limited circumstances. We do not expect that the increase in cover limits will have a dramatic impact on premiums, but we will continue to keep this under review and listen to your feedback.
It is prudent for us to highlight at this stage that whilst BABICM has been consulted, they have not endorsed nor adopted the IM due diligence criteria. We thank them for their support as we all share the same goal of providing the best possible case management on our clients’ behalf.
We want to finish by thanking all BABICM members for the wonderful job that you do on behalf of our clients and to wish you all the very best for the festive season. We hope you get chance to rest and recharge the batteries and we wish you all the very best for the New Year.
Katie, Damian and Sion
The below is a reminder of our due diligence criteria and we welcome conversations and questions from the industry being directed to Katie Strong, Damian Hodkinson and Sion Kingston.
Due Diligence requirements
To ensure a consistent approach to decisions relating to the instruction of Case Management Companies and Case Managers; the following standards must now be followed in all cases as a starting point:
- That the Due Diligence Questionnaire has been completed.
- That the Case Management company meet the due diligence criteria set out below:
- The Case Management Company should be registered with the Care Quality Commission (CQC);
- Their latest CQC inspection rating should have achieved a good or better outcome;
- The individual Case Manager instructed should be an “Advanced” BABICM practitioner.
- The Case Manager instructed should belong to a Registered Professional Standards Body.
- The Case Management Company should be able to evidence suitable supervision of Case Managers and file audits
- Employed and Self Employed Case Managers should be subject to the same supervision and insurances.
- Case Management Company should be able to evidence their due diligence of third parties, such as therapists and supervision of support workers.
- The Case Management Company must have in place Professional Indemnity and Public Liability insurances which we expect to provide a minimum cover of £10million. Employer Liability Insurances in place should also be in line with this at £10million.
- The Case Management Company should be agreeable to IM LLP standardised letter of appointment.
The client and family wishes and feelings needs to be evidenced in this process with commentary on the same when submitting case management instruction proposal.
There may be occasions where it is in the best interests of the client to depart from the due diligence criteria with examples embodied in this article.