Cheshire East Council
Since the introduction of the Care Act 2014, local authorities have had a statutory duty to facilitate and shape the whole publicly funded and self-funded care and support market. It is, however, well documented that care services in the UK are experiencing increased demands and increasing complexity of care needs, as well as rising costs for care providers. A major contributory factor within these rising prices is year on year wage rises, as part of the national minimum wage rates agreed by Central Government.

These pressures have a direct impact on the setting of care fees. Cheshire East Council wanted to assure itself that fee levels for care and support services were appropriate to provide the delivery of the agreed care packages with the agreed quality of care. C.Co worked with the Council to understand the market situation and the cost incurred by each provider in providing home care, supported living, extra care and residential care.

In accordance with CIPFA’s Cost of Care Guidance, C.Co worked collaboratively with providers to establish accurate interpretations of local cost of care. We delivered a series of workshops with providers to understand the cost elements that drive care delivery. We co-designed data collection questionnaires, worked with providers to compile cost information and undertook detailed cost and quality modelling that provided the Council with a local actual cost of care for the borough.

A key enabler to the accuracy and completeness of responses was for providers to feel a part of the process and not as though they were being ‘done to’. To make this happen, we engaged with providers both before, during and after the costing exercise was undertaken, encouraging ownership and understanding of the process as well as clarity on what the output of the exercise will be used for and how this may impact them in the future.

The output of the project provided the council with a robust evidence base that informed how the Council set its care fees for the future in a manner that supported the wellbeing of people who receive care and support, allowed the service Provider to meet their statutory obligations and also support a sustainable market of care.