Fair cost of care
The government is requiring local authorities to build strong foundations and look at market sustainability in relation to older people in care homes and the over-18s in domiciliary care. In order to secure additional funding from central government, local authorities are required to carry out cost of care exercises for these two provider groups and to submit outcomes by 14 October 2022.
Has your local authority been in touch with you about such an exercise? Are you inputting your data into the model? This is your opportunity to demonstrate what it actually costs to deliver your service. At a time when fuel and general living costs are astronomical, it has never been more important to share that data and show that social care needs an increase in funding.
Local authorities are already supposed to be increasing funding for these two provider groups in this financial year.
They are supposed to be reviewing market sustainability and discussions would be ongoing with you or representative groups. A provisional market sustainability plan should not exceed five pages and needs to cover the impact of market changes in the next three years.
Do not rely on your neighbour or bigger providers to submit their costs. All providers of all shapes and sizes need to engage with the modelling. Everyone has different costs, engages with a different demographic and has different overheads and business challenges but engaging with the fair cost of care exercise will inform both local fee setting and national resource allocation.
Hempsons has worked with the care home sector in challenge fee setting through the courts in previous years, but the court will no longer look at the prices set anymore, inly the processes followed.
The outcome is only as good as the data inputted, so make sure you have your say. This is your opportunity to show local authorities how much it really costs to deliver good quality care. Tenders from local authorities that don’t reference and link with the cost of care exercise are likely to uneconomic and the sector needs to challenge any such approach to ensure market sustainability is preserved.
This article first appeared in the Care Home Management July/August 2022 edition.