Adult social care market sustainability
Southend-on-Sea City Council (SCC) recognises the need to invest in the local Adult Social Care Market to support sustainability. Any funding that SCC receives from DHSC for the purpose of increasing fee rates will be utilised to increase fee rates, to move toward fairer fee rates for care.
Southend-on-Sea City Council (SCC) used the 2022/23 funding allocation from the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) of £0.6m to permanently uplift its Home Care and Care Home fee rates, alongside an additional £3.8 million from the Council budget to further increase fee rates. The increase was effective from 11 April 2022. The total investment of £4.4million into inflationary uplifts was a move towards paying fairer fee rates for care, recognising the unprecedented cost increases the care market has experienced.
The Council engage with care providers across the local market, through contract negotiation and its brokerage teams to agree on fee rates for residents placed into care to ensure that these rates are sustainable for each provider. The Council also ensure that standard fee rates are reviewed each year in the Annual Price Review Process to anticipate future inflationary pressures. Where providers have concerns about their sustainability, the Council encourages them to contact its commissioning teams and to discuss how it can support them to ensure necessary action is taken to address concerns. Based on a review of these concerns, the Council may be able to support providers with addressing these challenges in their services.
The Council’s commissioning and quality teams are continually developing the local support offer for care providers, which includes engaging with care providers to understand local opportunities and challenges in the market. The Council offer a wide range of support to providers including but not limited to:
- helping providers to improve the quality of their services through advice and guidance
- develop staff skills
- support best business practice
- reviewing cost effectiveness
- developing market shaping strategy
- access to grants (subject to available funding)
The Quality team are currently developing a new workforce strategy to address recruitment and retention challenges, as well as exploring any potential for further workforce grants (like those offered to care providers in past) which are subject to available funding.
Following the 2022/23 uplifts the Council continues to face significant financial challenges, rising demand and limited resources. The Council recognises the importance of further central government funding to support investment into the local care market and will utilise relevant DHSC funding to support fee rate increases where possible.
As mentioned previously, SCC is currently reviewing the 2023/24 adult social care fee rates as part of its Annual Price Review process and will utilise any dedicated funding from the DHSC to support inflationary increases to these rates. Once its budget is approved in February 2023, the Council will notify all care providers of any increases to the 2023/2024 fee rates.