Many of you will have heard about the government’s plan to understand more about what care costs in order to benchmark and establish a ‘fair’ cost of care as part of their reforms to Adult Social Care in England. Not before time we would all probably say, but that doesn’t mean this is necessarily going to be an easy task!
WCP has taken part in national calls to influence the process, as well as working with Wiltshire Council to agree a local process that will meet the needs of the exercise without be any more onerous and draining on providers than it has to be.
To start with we’ve agreed to kick off with the home care provider exercise, using the template developed by Arc and supported by the Homecare Association. This model has been tested by three WCP members in advance of all home care providers being asked to complete it. There will be some support for smaller providers, and the experiences of our three guinea pigs are being used to start a FAQs file that will be available to all and added to as you all give feedback and ask questions.
After this the care home process will start, with the same process and three willing providers taking part just ahead of the rest to show us where there are pitfalls so others can avoid them.
The data will be analysed by finance officers at Wiltshire Council who do not work within Social Care and who will not share any provider information. This process was agreed with WCP last year and worked well, with commissioners unable to see any information relating to a providers, but only seeing the overall results. At WCP we agreed this was a preferable approach to using one of the outside companies who are known to approach cost of care as a purely cost cutting exercise.
After all the data has been gathered, there is a deadline in the early autumn to produce a Market Sustainability Report and this is key in us being about to work together as providers and local authority to send clear messages back to the government about the impact of rising costs, staff recruitment and retention difficulties and years of under funding in social care.
I’m sure we are all approaching this latest cost of care with a bit of a groan, but this time we have an opportunity to work together to send a clear, strong message to the government that it has got to do better, with one voice, one message.