New investment for home support in Norfolk

30 November 2017

In the next financial year (2018/19), Norfolk County Council will be investing an extra £2.1m to help home support providers in what has become a challenging environment for this part of the care sector.

It is well known that the home support sector has been facing a number of issues in the marketplace.  Pressures include unmet needs in some parts of the county, a reduction in government funding, and pressure to achieve a balanced budget.

The Council has over 70 home support providers and this volume has created a market that competes with one another over workforce and customers, causing a negative effect on retention rates of home support staff and inefficient supply.

A new model has been developed to improve the coverage and quality of home support countywide.  The key to making this work will be a collaborative approach from providers – communicating and working as a collective whole to deliver a stronger and more robust service.

The ambition is that providers can respond to the majority of requests quickly and is reliable, providing continuity of well-trained personnel working to agreed professional standards, for people using these services to be able to remain in their own homes for as long as they wish.

Bill Borrett, Norfolk County Council’s chairman of the adult social care committee said: “Reshaping and supporting the home care market is essential.  The purpose of this change is to improve our coverage of the county, our quality of service, and to recruit and retain home support staff.  Research shows that we currently have a staff turnover of 46% and that’s not sustainable for the future of the sector.

“Our vision is to stabilise the market to keep people resilient, safe and well at home but most importantly, we want to reassure people that there is a supply of home support for current needs and for the future.”

The additional investment of £2.1m in 2018/19 will be used specifically for home support provision and the support work base.  No provider will be financially excluded.  The cost of inflation for the new cost model will be discussed at the next Adult Social Care Committee in January 2018 to discuss further rises in payment for that year.

Having listened to the concerns of home care providers and the people using their services, the Council has put a structure in place that will improve the current situation by:

  • Placing a partnership of providers around GP surgeries – this partnership will work closely to ensure that all needs in that area are met collaboratively and that any specialist training and resources are focused on staff delivering in that area
  • Introducing payments that reflect the variation and rurality of Norfolk
  • The need to pay a fair price to care workers which makes a job in the care sector viable

At present there are three types of contract for home care providers:

  • Framework Agreement – these providers have signed up to Norfolk County Council’s new framework and will be paid according to the location of the person they are providing care for
  • Block Contracts – these contracts were awarded on a price and quality criteria and will therefore remain on the existing terms and conditions at present
  • Spot Contracts – originally sought as a contingency agreement to cover unmet needs with block contracts, the current spot rate remains appropriate

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