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09 Dec 2021

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No more ulterior motives

By Caring Times editor GEOFF HODGSON

Every now and again, the multifarious organisations which represent some part of the broad church of care providers make a joint statement via the Care Provider Alliance (CPA) when they find an issue on which they can all agree.

The CPA is a bit like a microcosmic version of the League of Nations which, at the outbreak of World War Two, found itself debating the standardisation of railway crossings. So now, as major homecare providers go to the wall, as government dithers on social care funding reform and fails to rein-in the increasingly imperial ambitions of the regulator, the CPA has published guidance “to support strategic engagement between local authorities, the NHS and the independent and voluntary adult social care sector”.

The CPA has identified seven principles (seven shining virtues as against the seven deadly sins) which providers should adhere to in their dealings with public sector bodies. This hortatory heptad reads very much like a statement of the blindingly obvious – “provider representatives should be truthful”, “they must declare any interests and relationships”, “they must put forward views fairly and on merit” – I ask you.

But perhaps I am being a little unfair; given the deep-seated mistrust of the private sector which many public bodies bring to the discussion table, providers must have been scratching their heads about how to make them listen, and positive engagement between the sectors would go a long way to addressing some of the systemic difficulties which plague the social care space.

But it’s a sad indictment of some operators that their representative bodies feel the need to urge them to toe the ethical line.

  • The CT Blog is written in a personal capacity – comments and opinions expressed are not necessarily endorsed or supported by Caring Times.

4 Replies to “No more ulterior motives”

  1. Hortatory heptad! Wonderful. Read Hodgson on a Monday morning to liven up the day and widen your vocabulary. I had to look it up. And then I had a sneaky little peek at the late and not a bit lamented Social Care Commitment. There’s another example of vacuous, platitudinous blather . . . I can’t compete, much as I try. Everyone rushed to sign up to commit – to what? Empty resolutions to do what they were always meant to be doing – “I will put my pyjamas in the drawer marked pyjamas.” (Anyone know where that comes from?) In essence they all colluded to pretend to be good children. Skills for Care which hosted The Social Care Commitment refuses to reveal how much money this ridiculous exercise of government funded window-dressing cost. It’s time some of these parasitic organisations got on with the real work of care.

  2. Regrettable? Maybe. Necessary? Certainly. And in my – now seriously dated – experience, long overdue. However, I’d be intrigued to discover what precisely has caused these principles to be promulgated, and why now.

    People from local authorities and the NHS need to know who is speaking for providers in local forums – if indeed they do speak for all relevant providers and not just members of the local association. So the word “representative”, which litters the principles, ought to be clarified. This isn’t just semantics; I found that many folk, particularly in the NHS, assumed (hoped) that providers’ “representatives” had somehow been officially mandated. If only!

    There is also the question of whether the associations involved are diligent in communicating information from these forums to the local provider sector. LAs and NHS bodies should recognise that they may have to be funded to do so.

    One final point: similar principles should apply to service user “representatives”. In my time, they were just a token presence – there only for the free sandwiches and a little company.

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