Mark Conrad 21 March 2017

Home care market on 'brink of collapse'

The adult social care market is ‘broken’ with services now bought at prices that are unsustainable, a damning report has warned.

A study by the LGiU think-tank and care provider Mears Group this week concluded the care market was being ‘held together by hope and goodwill, but that can only hold for so long’.

It calls for a long-term injection of cash into the market, asks councils to consider a minimum price for hourly homecare and urges an end to ‘stop-gap’ solutions from Whitehall.

The study was published hours after a Panorama investigation revealed that 95 councils have had care contracts cancelled by their providers – often because suppliers cannot provide basic services on the budgets sought by hard-up local authorities.

It read: ‘Local authorities that commission care are having their budgets slashed so mercilessly that they being are faced with a stark choice: ration care further or pay for care at a rate so low that care businesses will limp along until they can go no further.’

Alan Long, executive director at Mears Group, revealed his firm was currently losing around £3m a year on care services.

Mr Long estimated Mears needs around £15.91 per hour to cover the full cost of homecare – yet claimed some councils were offering £12.50 per hour.

‘It would be impossible to do that without breaking the law or using bad practices like call cramming,’ he said.

Mr Long said that the margins for many providers were now so low that smaller firms were folding – with threats hanging over the sector’s larger companies.

‘I think we’re about to see another Southern Cross, but for homecare,’ he warned.

Izzi Seccombe, chairman of the Local Government Association’s community wellbeing board, urged ministers to focus their promised social care green paper on long-term funding solutions.

‘With councils facing further funding pressures and growing demand for support by the end of the decade, this is the last chance we have to get this right,’ she warned.

Ending the ‘care cliff’ image

Ending the ‘care cliff’

Katharine Sacks-Jones, CEO of Become, explains what local authorities can do to prevent young people leaving care from experiencing the ‘care cliff'.
The new Centre for Young Lives image

The new Centre for Young Lives

Anne Longfield CBE, the chair of the Commission on Young Lives, discusses the launch of the Centre for Young Lives this month.
SIGN UP
For your free daily news bulletin
Highways jobs

Private Rented Sector Access Project Officer

Wakefield Council
£29,777.00 - £32,076.00, Grade 7, 37 hours, Temporary
This role will support the development of trusted relationships with private rented landlords. Wakefield, West Yorkshire
Recuriter: Wakefield Council

Senior IT Business Partner

London Borough of Richmond upon Thames and London Borough of Wandsworth
£66,318 - £80,874 per annum
As a key member of our IT Business Partner Team, you will collaborate with senior stakeholders, shape technology strategies, and ensure effective d... London, Wandsworth
Recuriter: London Borough of Richmond upon Thames and London Borough of Wandsworth

Building Control Surveyor

North Yorkshire Council
£32,076 to £40,221 (Subject to pay award)
An exciting opportunity has arisen to join our Building Control team working within the heart of North Yorkshire. Easingwold, York / hybrid
Recuriter: North Yorkshire Council

Administrator

Wakefield Council
£23,500 to £23,893, grade 4
We put our customers at the heart of everything we do and are looking for a new team member to join us in Learner Services. Wakefield, West Yorkshire
Recuriter: Wakefield Council

Repairs Manager RBKC616191

The Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea Council
£55,497 - £63,045 per annum
This role will lead a seamless, proactive and high-quality resident-focused repairs service. Kensington and Chelsea, London (Greater)
Recuriter: The Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea Council
Linkedin Banner

Partner Content

Circular highways is a necessity not an aspiration – and it’s within our grasp

Shell is helping power the journey towards a circular paving industry with Shell Bitumen LT R, a new product for roads that uses plastics destined for landfill as part of the additives to make the bitumen.

Support from Effective Energy Group for Local Authorities to Deliver £430m Sustainable Warmth Funded Energy Efficiency Projects

Effective Energy Group is now offering its support to the 40 Local Authorities who have received a share of the £430m to deliver their projects on the ground by surveying properties and installing measures.

Pay.UK – the next step in Bacs’ evolution

Dougie Belmore explains how one of the main interfaces between you and Bacs is about to change.