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New approach to commissioning needed in Herefordshire, says Care England

November 6, 2019

Provider representative body Care England has expressed concern about what it says is poor commissioning impacting upon providers’ ability to deliver services and plan ahead in Herefordshire. Care England has long called for commissioners to be subject to independent scrutiny, as part of a wider agenda seeking greater consistency and transparency in commissioning practice and the setting of fees at the true cost of care.

The association’s chief executive, professor Martin Green, points out that this view was echoed by the Care Quality Commission in its recent Beyond Barriers Report on integrated care systems, which called for new legislation in order that CQC could regulate how people and organisations work together to support people to stay well.

“The relationship between commissioners and providers is critical,” said Prof. Green.

“Collaborative working is key in working towards improving access to high quality, personalised services and support and, whilst most relationships across the country are generally robust, there are examples where improvements are required.”

Care England members have noted concerns in their commissioning relationship with Herefordshire County Council with regard to Learning Disabilities services. Members report low base rate fees being paid by the council, £479 per week for residential care, and inconsistencies in how commissioners approach the monitoring of contracts with independent community care providers.

“Learning Disability services are often overlooked by the public as a marginal issue despite offering valuable support for vulnerable adults to remain independent within their communities,” said Prof. Green.

“When commissioning of these services is not up to scratch, the risks of these services becoming marginalised intensifies.”

Whilst acknowledging that local authorities have a challenging task to manage finite public resources, Care England is calling for a more mature relationship to address the accelerating risks to the sustainability of the care market.

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