public health and social care

25.10.16

‘Major risks’ warning as state-funded homecare faces £500m shortfall

Social care providers are not being paid enough by councils to stay in business, with state-funded homecare for the elderly facing a £513m funding gap, according to a new report from the United Kingdom Home Care Association (UKHCA).

FOIs by UKHCA found just 10% of 208 British councils were paying their local providers an average price of £16.70 an hour. The association estimates this is the minimum amount necessary to comply with national minimum wage regulations, including careworkers’ travel, and the costs of running the service in a sustainable way.

In total, it is estimated that UK homecare is £513m in deficit. The average rate paid for homecare was just £14.58 an hour, and seven authorities had an average price below £11.94, the minimum rate needed to cover the direct costs of employing homecare workers.

Colin Angel, UKHCA’s policy director, said: “Councils which decide to pay inadequate rates for homecare are taking major risks with people's wellbeing and the jobs of local people who provide care.

“People who use homecare services are already experiencing the consequences of unstable care markets.”

UKHCA also accused councils of making “empty promises” over the living wage after finding that just three (Oxfordshire, Wiltshire and Bath and North East Somerset) paid a price which could allow providers to pay the wage. None of the London borough councils met the London Living Wage.

The report said that if councils demand providers follow the living wage but do not give them the means to do so, they could be forced to cut funding for training and care co-ordination to increase wages, or else see their finances collapse.

It recommended that all local authorities carry out a transparent costing exercise for care in their area, after finding that just 24 of the responding councils knew how much they should be paying.

Recently, the CQC’s latest annual report warned that social care is approaching a “tipping point”, with more providers expected to fail in the future.

UKHCA called on councils to pay a rate “consistent with sustainable costs”, and work with it and member organisations to understand the implications of under-funded homecare services.

In addition, it said governments of all four UK administrations should require statutory regulators to undertake effective oversight of the commissioning functions of councils and trusts.

Cllr Izzi Seccombe, chair of the LGA’s community wellbeing board, said financial pressures on the care provider market could be at least £1.3bn, and could reach £2.6bn by 2019-20.

“Councils, care providers, charities and the NHS are all united around the need for central government to fully fund adult social care,” she said. “This is essential if we are to move away from just trying to keep people alive to ensuring they can live independent, fulfilling lives, as well as alleviating the pressure on the NHS.

“The care provider market cannot carry on as it is and there is a real danger of more widespread market failure. Either care is properly funded or providers will pull out of council contracts or in worst case scenario go bust. The market for publicly-funded care is simply not sustainable as it stands.”

A Department of Health spokesperson said the government was “significantly increasing” social care funding and that councils “must be able to demonstrate that their care providers pay staff the minimum wage”.

Have you got a story to tell? Would you like to become a PSE columnist? If so, click here.

 

Comments

There are no comments. Why not be the first?

Add your comment

 

public sector executive tv

more videos >

latest public sector news

Sport England announces £195m in coronavirus support funding

31/03/2020Sport England announces £195m in coronavirus support funding

Sport England has announced today (Mar 31) that it will be making up £195m of funding to support the sport and physical activity sector dur... more >
Business support: lessons learned from our start-up and productivity project

31/03/2020Business support: lessons learned from our start-up and productivity project

Source: PSE Feb/Mar Dr Melanie Smans is Economic Development Manager at South Oxfordshire and Vale of White Horse District Councils ... more >
Scheme launched for recipients of free school meals

31/03/2020Scheme launched for recipients of free school meals

 A new voucher scheme has been launched today (Mar 31) to protect families unable to claim their free school meals during school closures. ... more >

editor's comment

25/10/2017Take a moment to celebrate

Devolution, restructuring and widespread service reform: from a journalist’s perspective, it’s never been a more exciting time to report on the public sector. That’s why I could not be more thrilled to be taking over the reins at PSE at this key juncture. There could not ... read more >

last word

Prevention: Investing for the future

Prevention: Investing for the future

Rob Whiteman, CEO at the Chartered Institute of Public Finance (CIPFA), discusses the benefits of long-term preventative investment. Rising demand, reducing resource... more > more last word articles >
Sport England announces £195m in coronavirus support funding

31/03/2020Sport England announces £195m in coronavirus support funding

Sport England has announced today (Mar 31) that it will be making up £195m of funding to support the sport and physical activity sector during this crisis. It will consist of a £... more >
Business support: lessons learned from our start-up and productivity project

31/03/2020Business support: lessons learned from our start-up and productivity project

Source: PSE Feb/Mar Dr Melanie Smans is Economic Development Manager at South Oxfordshire and Vale of White Horse District Councils   The South Oxfordshire and Vale of Wh... more >

the raven's daily blog

What came first, the bad customer or the bad customer service?

17/03/2020What came first, the bad customer or the bad customer service?

Source: PSE Feb/March 20 Stephen Bahooshy, Senior Commissioning Manager and Nicky Selwyn, Carer and Service User Group Chair, Croydon Council.   Here it is, that age old question: What came first, the bad customer or the bad ... more >
read more blog posts from 'the raven' >

comment

Peter Kyle MP: It’s time to say thank you this Public Service Day

21/06/2019Peter Kyle MP: It’s time to say thank you this Public Service Day

Taking time to say thank you is one of the hidden pillars of a society. Being on the receiving end of some “thanks” can make communit... more >
How community-led initiatives can help save the housing shortage

19/06/2019How community-led initiatives can help save the housing shortage

Tom Chance, director at the National Community Land Trust Network, argues that community-led initiatives are a productive way of helping to solve... more >
Aberdeen's green transport fleet attracting international attention

19/06/2019Aberdeen's green transport fleet attracting international attention

Aberdeen City Council’s hydrogen spokesperson, councillor Philip Bell, highlights the Granite City’s determination to play a leading ... more >
A fifth of public sector workers have never received a thank you from the people they serve

13/06/2019A fifth of public sector workers have never received a thank you from the people they serve

A fifth of the country’s public sector workers say they have NEVER received a ‘thank you’ for doing their job as Public Service... more >

Interviews

Artificial intelligence: the devil is in the data

17/12/2018Artificial intelligence: the devil is in the data

It’s no secret that the public sector and its service providers need to invest in technology to help make better use of their resources. Bu... more >
Digital innovation in the public sector: The future is now

17/12/2018Digital innovation in the public sector: The future is now

One of the public sector’s key technology partners has recently welcomed a new member to its team. Matt Spencer, O2’s head of public ... more >
New Dorset Councils CEO on the creation of a new unitary: ‘This is going to be the right decision for Dorset’

05/11/2018New Dorset Councils CEO on the creation of a new unitary: ‘This is going to be the right decision for Dorset’

The new chief executive of one of the new unitary authorities in Dorset has outlined his approach to culture and work with employees, arguing tha... more >
Keeping the momentum of the Northern Powerhouse

15/10/2018Keeping the momentum of the Northern Powerhouse

On 6 September, the biggest decision-makers of the north joined forces to celebrate and debate how to drive innovation and improvement through th... more >

Public Sector Focus

View all News