The Domiciliary Care market has always been an area of high pressure for Local Authorities; a pressure not easily resolved. However, where there’s a will…
With the demand for services only set to increase over the coming months and years, we wanted get London Borough Councils together to talk about the market in London, what the issues are and what could be done to address or reduce them.
Having the Bankside Community Space in London as our venue, we joined with colleagues from nine Local Authorities, all interested in changing the way that they procure domiciliary care and at the potential benefits of innovating their marketplace.
Setting the scene for them, Ben from adam started the day posing questions about the challenges faced to the attendees – it seemed capacity was a recurring theme. This was followed by Q&A with Darren Newman from Waltham Forest Council. Waltham Forest are certainly forward thinking in their approach to Supplier Engagement, as Darren stated the importance to create a conversation between the Council and their Providers in order to achieve better results for people needing care.
“We need to work with our supplier market. Their problems are our problems”. Darren Newman, Waltham Forest
Council colleagues were keen to ask questions about how a Dynamic Supplier Base works for Waltham Forest. Darren noted that previous to changing their supply base nearly half of their care packages were with two suppliers, and these suppliers also had quality and safeguarding issues. Through their new process, Waltham Forest now have access to 30+ suppliers, who are all quality rated against certain criteria.
After the Q&A, James from adam took the Councils through the key benefits of moving to a Dynamic Supply Base – reduced risk, more choice, more competition, more capacity, better performance, supplier empowerment and more innovation.
Tola joined us from Supreme Home Care for a Q&A session on the pressures they face as a Dom Care Provider to Local Authorities. The most poignant challenges, certainly for Supreme Home Care, are around the training and retention of staff. A point raised by a colleague from one London Borough was that they believed a hurdle to staff retention was that carers can earn more and have more opportunities doing retail work. There is also the ‘image’ of care and being a carer to overcome. Tola also stated that the carers they work with generally exit the care profession because they feel undervalued – a sad fact for an industry built on caring.
Finishing the afternoon, Mark and Richard from adam took us through why people who self-fund or direct-pay for their care should have access to the same resources as Councils in informing their care decisions and how Councils can best provide access to these resources.
“People who self-fund their social care need more help from Councils”. The Guardian
Many of the Councils attending agreed that they needed to do more to help people find care independently, especially with some boroughs making all of their care options direct-payment.
The day turned into a great opportunity for us to share learnings with the Councils and for them to share their own experiences of the marketplace with us, leaving everyone with a positive feeling about how procurement in the London area can be changed for the better with some innovative working.