Wigan care agency under investigation

Cherish UK care and support service based in Standish Lower Ground
Cherish UK care and support service based in Standish Lower Ground

A Wigan care agency is under investigation by the council after a long list of complaints was made by a whistleblower.

Cherish UK, whose operations in the borough are based in Standish Lower Ground and which enables people to live independently at home, is the subject of a “thorough” probe by the town hall.

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The national Care Quality Commission (CQC) has also received messages of concerns about its operations and is aware of the local authority’s actions.

Allegations made about Cherish UK include home visits for service users being shortened, a poor management culture, training issues and high turnover of staff due to the working conditions.

It is believed that concerns around safeguarding issues have also been raised.

Joanne Willmott, assistant director for provider management and market development at Wigan Council, said: “We are aware of an anonymous complaint made to the CQC and are currently undertaking a thorough investigation.

“Should any concerns be raised in the process we will launch our service improvement process immediately.”

A CQC spokesman said: “We are working with our colleagues at Wigan Council on this.”

A Cherish UK spokesman said the firm was aware of the local authority probe but the firm was unable to give any further comment.

The company’s website says that, through its headquarters in the borough and in Blackpool, it helps both children and adults with physical and learning disabilities as well as people simply needing more support to remain at home.

Ms Willmott sought to reassure residents that high standards in the care sector were a top priority and outlined some of the measures the local authority has

taken.

She said: “Over the last two years the council has undertaken detailed work to develop an ambitious and reformed model of care at home, supported through the introduction of Wigan’s Ethical Framework.

“This has seen 10 ethical homecare providers appointed to work across the borough, following extensive testing of their commitment to delivering excellent care and support for Wigan residents.

“Wigan Homecare is based on person centred support for customers and good working conditions, such as paid travelling time for front line care workers.

“We have a team of dedicated Quality Performance Officers who work with providers, customers and families to continually check quality and improve the service.”