Blog | Angela Gifford

Rhetoric Versus Reality In UK Social Care

Social Care costs money and Councils have been steadily increasing the care dependency eligibility as they strive to save and reduce their financial expenditure.

Increasing the eligibility levels are not sufficient and an additional method being used by some Councils to reduce spending is to purchase the care from domiciliary care organisations offering the lowest hourly rates.

To provide safe, responsible, good quality care does not just happen in isolation but is a result of good practices throughout an organisation.

Good practices in recruitment, employment, management, admin, understanding the needs of individuals who are dependent on you are just some of the factors that have high costs associated with them and whilst it may be possible to minimize some costs to a degree there is a level after which service provision will suffer.

A high percentage of care providers are reliant on Council contracts rather than on private fee payers and therefore the success or failure of their business is dependent on this local customer.

Many councils are ‘approving’ dozens of care organisations when quite clearly there is not enough work to go round and carers will switch companies to follow the work if they are able to do so. This has a destabilizing effect to all concerned in the provision of care packages. It seems perverse, that at the very time that the Minister of State is introducing a requirement that independent sector providers demonstrate their financial viability – that local authorities are effectively guaranteeing that significant numbers of providers will fail.

Some commissioning authorities do not seem to recognise that every successful independent sector provider needs to operate at or above the level of “critical mass” in order to survive.

Many years of hard work and “good practice” are being wasted for perceived short term advantage.

Ask yourself, “What is the incentive for a good quality provider to pay to train their workers to the best possible level, only to lose those same workers to their cheaper competitors – because that is where the local authority has placed the contracts?”

Surely this is “short termism” of the worst kind.

By:  Angela E Gifford
Posted:  22 May 2013

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