In September 2019 I wrote an article – ‘Fair, Local and Sustainable’ which emphasised the need for providers and commissioners to collaborate in addressing, what was then, their most fundamental challenge; funding for the care sector that was fair and sustainable.

During the first wave of the pandemic, we observed commissioners and providers united by a common goal and working together, politics aside, to ensure the best care and support for both residents and care workers. This cooperative approach has worked, and its continuation will be critical to meet the second wave challenges in the months ahead.

To survive in these unprecedented times the answer it seems is clear – collaborate, collaborate, collaborate.

The C.Co cost of care methodology harnesses effective open collaboration, but enhances that with a locally informed evidence driven approach. This is fundamental to support a sustainable market. The alternative is too stark.

Fair, Local and Sustainable Care

Having spent my career working within the public sector, I have a deep seated understanding that the increasing demand on adult social care is one of the most significant challenges facing local government; and personal experience has taught me the significance of safe, personalised and empathetic care for our most vulnerable adults.

Whilst I understood the challenges and complexities that commissioners of care faced on a daily basis, it is only through engaging with providers across the country that I have really developed a whole system understanding of what represents a true and sustainable cost of care.

Working with both the public and private sectors together has given me a unique insight. I have developed an understanding which cuts across the political and philosophical worlds and allows for real awareness of social value. This is especially true when working with both commissioners and providers on the highly emotive subject of establishing what constitutes a fair price to pay for care; you could be forgiven for being under the illusion that it is a purely transactional ‘us vs them’ scenario. Whilst it would be wrong to say that this is never the case, it has certainly not been my recent experience.

It is far more complex than that.

Restricted budgets (councils), narrow margins (providers), increasing cost pressures (councils and providers), the impacts of a global pandemic, demands for higher skills, support for lower paid staff, recruitment issues, increasing demand, increasing polarisation of care provision, increasing legislative requirements, large, regional and very local suppliers with very different cost bases, different business models, commissioning models all make for an incredibly complex mix!

My takeaway on all of this, do not work on broad assumptions. Understanding and collaboration between providers and commissioners, and an knowledge of local markets and costs equals the best value outcomes for everyone.

Natalie Abraham

C.Co Chief Operating Officer

At C.Co, we support organisations with solutions for all aspects of change management, enabling successful improvement and transformation across the public sector. If you are interested in finding out more, please get in touch with us today.