The Care Act 2014 placed responsibility on local authorities to facilitate both the publicly funded and self-funded care sector. Crucially, local authorities also have to provide choice to deliver outcomes and improve well-being. Commissioners have to “promote the efficient and effective operation of a market in services for meeting care and support needs” and have “a variety of providers to choose from..…to provide a variety of services.”
Commissioners are in an extraordinarily challenging position, that has only been exacerbated by the pandemic and Brexit. Budgets are lower, costs are higher, demand is up and the available skills and workforce have been significantly reduced.
Keeping waste to a minimum has been a mantra for years in the public sector. Driving costs down is obviously critical too but providing public value for money is arguably just as important.
In the worst case scenario, where a care provider goes out of business, local authorities are likely to be left in the dreadful position of needing to find, extremely urgently, alternative care arrangements, which, inevitably, will be at a higher cost.
The perils of a two tier care system
Another pressure on local authorities is where their clients can find themselves priced out of the market by self-funded clients, who may be able to afford higher costs. This, in turn, may lead to the unacceptable situation where, in effect, a two tier system is in place, with local authority clients subsidised by self-funded clients and there is a significant difference in the quality of care received by the two groups.
Due diligence to agree a fair cost of care
Agreeing a fair cost of care is absolutely paramount in order to meet the needs of clients, local authorities and providers. That cost cannot be agreed without due diligence.
In our work for local authorities across the country, we have found that a combination of locally informed costs and quality modelling, based on the actual costs that are incurred by providers, is the best way to arrive at a truly fair cost. You have to understand the local market and the provider’s actual costs on the ground. After all, it’s in everyone’s interests that providers are able to run a sustainable long-term business.
A six step approach to the cost of care
Our team has a six step approach in our cost of care assessment, underpinned by collaboration and evidence-based decisions. These include workshop delivery, data collation and in-depth analysis and modelling to enable us to understand local, unique issues and ultimately determine a fair cost of social care. To find out more, download our Cost of Care brochure here and contact our team to discover how we can help you.