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Government advice toolkit on "no-deal" Brexit

'No deal' warnings, analysis and advice

The Institute for Government has warned that delivering a no-deal Brexit could dominate the domestic agenda leaving politicians and Whitehall little time for issues like social care. Meanwhile the CBI has issued 200 recommendations in a paper for businesses post-Brexit. Click here for more information.

Information on suspending employees fairly and lawfully

 Anthony Collins Solicitors LLP have written an article on suspending employees fairly and lawfully, which considers recent case law, and gives employers advice on how to approach an employment investigation when a police investigation is running alongside. Click here to view.

Good work plan - consultation on one-sided flexibility

The Government is seeking views on proposals made by the Low Pay Commission, to address the issue of 'one-sided flexibility', like providing workers with a right to reasonable notice of work schedules and compensation for shifts cancelled without reasonable notice.Click here for more information.

Plan to create single enforcement body for workers' rights

The government has announced plans to create a single labour market enforcement body, with powers to enforce minimum wage, holiday payments and employment agency standards, among other provisions. The consultation closes on 6 October 2019. Click here for more detailed information about the consultation.

Provider Information Returns (PIR) will be annual

From 7 August 2019, CQC will be asking all providers to complete an updated PIR and this will then continue on an annual basis. Requests for the PIR will be sent during the anniversary month of your first site visit. CQC will write to all providers with details of the updated questions/guidance

Care Assistant was unfairly dismissed for raising concerns over working hours.

A care assistant was awarded almost £36,000 after she was unfairly dismissed for asserting her rights under Working Time Regulations and unfavourably treated by her employer because of her pregnancy. 

Middlesbrough employment tribunal ruled T Peart was unfairly dismissed and unfavourably treated by York-based Care Preference after she raised concerns about her hours.

Judge JM Wade said Peart’s employer immediately assumed she was lodging objections to shift patterns because she simply didn’t want to work ‘on-call’ shifts and failed to consider that Peart had childcare or health issues related to her pregnancy preventing her from taking shifts. Click here for full report.

The Workforce Development Fund Opens 31st May

From Friday 31st May 2019 the Workforce Development Innovation Fund 2019-20 will be open for applications. If you’re planning an innovative project which increases the skills and knowledge of your workforce and improves the quality of your service, take a look at the priorities for this year’s fund to find out if your organisation is eligible to apply. Find out more and apply from 31st  May 2019.

Guidance on Zero Hours Contracts

Organisations considering using zero-hours contracts should think carefully about the business rationale for doing this, including whether there are other types of flexible working or employment practices that would deliver the same benefits. Zero-hours contracts work best when the flexibility that they provide works for both the employer and the individual.

If zero-hours contracts are identified as the best option, employers need to be clear about what type of arrangements will suit them and what this means in terms of their responsibilities as an employer and the employment rights of the individuals engaged in this way.

'Because "zero-hours contract" does not have a specific meaning in law, it is important for employers to ensure that written contracts contain provisions setting out the status, rights and obligations of their zero-hours staff.' Click here to read or download the guide.

 

Quality Matters: case studies in working together to improve care

Quality Matters, an initiative led by NICE, has published an online resource designed to inspire providers and local partners to work together to improve care. 'Unlocking Capacity: Smarter Together' provides a number of online resources and case studies.Click here for more information.

 

New Skills for Care guide to service improvement

At the beginning of 2018, 21% of regulated adult social care services in England were delivering care that didn’t meet the CQC's fundamental standards - this puts the people you support, your staff and your organisation at risk. It’s vital that you address any areas for improvement immediately.

Skills for Care’s new ‘Guide to improvement’ explains how to identify, plan and implement improvement across your service. It draws on ‘good’ and outstanding’ practices to help your service to, not only meet CQC expectations, but exceed them. Improving your service ensures that you deliver the high quality, person-centred care and support that people expect and deserve, and meet the CQC’s fundamental standards.

The‘Guide to improvement’ explains how to identify, plan and implement improvement across your service. It draws on ‘good’ and outstanding’ practice to help your service to, not only meet CQC expectations, but exceed them. It includes checklists and examples to help you to identify what your service needs to improve, and to develop an action plan to implement the required changes.

This guide is for anyone involved in driving improvement in CQC regulated adult social care services including directors, board members, registered managers, nominated individuals, quality assurance leads, champions and learning and development leads.

If you want to improve your service, we recommend you read the full guide. If you want to strengthen a particular part of your service, look at the contents page to find the relevant section.

Click here to download the Guide.

 

You are invited to take part in a Survey of the Sector ( Now Closed)

The Department of Health and Social Care’s (DHSC), have created a short survey to gather feedback from people working in the sector. The survey should take no longer than 10 minutes to complete.To complete the survey, for which all responses will remain anonymous, please follow the link below:

DHSC Adult Social Care Recruitment Campaign survey

The Department would like to get the views of different people working in the sector – from careworkers on the front line to Registered Managers and Directors of homecare services.Feedback from people working in the sector gathered through the survey will be essential in helping to refine and improve the campaign strategy for potential future activity, including the extent of funding next year.

The closing date for this survey is 5pm on Monday 20th May. DHSC are aiming to have a summary of key results by early June.


Care Provider Alliance publishes EU Exit Contingency Plan

The CPA has published an EU exit contingency plan that social care providers can fill in and adapt to meet the needs of their business. The CPA website also contains a number of other resources aimed at helping social care providers to keep up-to-date with the latest information rhttps://www.careprovideralliance.org.uk/no-deal-resources-and-publications.htmlegarding Brexit. Download the contingency plan from the CPA website.

 

DHSC Brexit details for care staff           

The Secretary of State of Health and Social Care, has issued a letter on Brexit to social care staff, including updates in reference to recognition of professional qualifications and further information about the EU settlement scheme and right to remain.

New Ombudsman report on adult social care complaints

The report highlights common issues from the investigations including a lack of clear information about fees, charges and contracts, problems with billing and invoices, and dealing with challenging behaviour from friends and relatives. Read the report here.

 

Department of Health and Social Care - Training for people with Learning Disability and Autism

The government wants to know how we can make sure that health and social care staff have the right training to understand the needs of people with a learning disability and autistic people, and make reasonable adjustments to support them.The consultation considers issues around the training and development staff need to better support people with a learning disability or autistic people.


DHSC want to know what people think about their proposals on:
  • the planned content of the training
  • how the training should be delivered
  • how to involve people with a learning disability or autistic people in training
  • how we can mandate, monitor and evaluate the impact of training
The consultation will be of particular interest to:
  • people with a learning disability or autistic people
  • the families and carers of people with a learning disability or autistic people
  • patient groups
  • providers of health and social care services


Please note: the original deadline for responding to this consultation has been extended by 2 weeks. It will now close on 26 April

View Consultation Document, and "Easy read" version

 

CQC announce additional prompts to Statutory Notifications forms

CQC are making some changes to the way they ask you to report some incidents to them with the aim of reducing the amount of follow up work they need to do with you. These are interim changes, which form part of a larger piece of work. Registered providers must notify CQC of certain changes events and incidents that affect their service or the people who use it, notifications are submitted through their portal or via completing a downloadable form and sending it to them by email. To make it easier for you to understand what they need to know when you notify them and to help them capture additional, more detailed information they are adding additional prompts to the word versions of the following notification forms in the additional information field:

 

CQC increase their Fees

Changes to CQC fees have now been confirmed and are outlined on the fees consultation page of their website. This page also contains our response to the consultation and supporting information and guidance. This follows the public consultation between 25 October 2018 and 17 January 2019 on their proposals for the fees that they will charge providers of health and adult social care in England from 1 April 2019.


Skills for Care guide to improvement

Skills for Care have launched a new online guide to help adult social care employers to identify, plan and implement improvements across their service. The ‘Guide to improvement’ draws on good and outstanding practice to help your service not only meet CQC expectations, but exceed them. It includes checklists and examples to help you identify what your service needs to improve, and to develop an action plan to implement the required changes. Download your copy of the guide here.
Skills for Care registered manager members will receive an exclusive workbook edition of the guide when they renew their membership from 1 April 2019. Find out more about membership here.

 

Skills for Care offer guidance on recruitment

Read their blog on Breaking the cycle of recruiting the wrong people and article on Six ways to select the right people’

 

Church of England welcomes SCIE safeguarding report 

The Church of England welcomes the final SCIE (Social Care Institute for Excellence) overview report, which details the learning from the 42 independent diocesan safeguarding audits and findings on improving responses to survivors of abuse. Click here to view.


NICE and SCIE launch guide to advanced care planning

NICE and SCIE have collaborated to prodice a guide to advanced care planning. Click here for more information.

 

Social Care Institute for Excellence (SCIE) launch "integrating better" Webinar

 NHS England and SCIE webinar introduced a new guide "Integrating better: new resources on health and social care integration" - which captures common features of good practice on integration between health, social care and the voluntary and community sector. Click here for more.


Focusing on Strengths in Adult Social Care

The Department of Health and Social Care have launched - "Strengths based approach - Practice Framework and Practice Handbook". Click here to download.
 


How CIW inspect services registered under the Regulation and Inspection of Social Care (Wales) Act 2016

CIW are developing and piloting a new inspection framework through a small pilot this autumn, for services registered under the new Act. To find out which services will be involved, and what will be different about these inspections, read the news item on their website.


Launch of Ronecare Business Start Up Guide

We are delighted to announce that we have produced a 15 page guide to starting a Domiciliary Care Business. Material drawn from a variety of different sources we feel that this will help you enormously as you take the journey from a great idea to registration of your new enterprise. In Microsoft Word Format, it's part of the Complete Care Package, the All Policies Package and the Pre-Registration toolkit. Take a look at the Guide here, in PDF form. Good luck!!


Increase in National Living Wage

The Government has accepted the Low Pay Commission's recommendation that the National Living Wage should rise by 4.9% from £7.83 to £8.21 from April 2019. In addition the Government agreed in the Budget to:

  • Increasing the rate for 21 to 24 year olds by 4.3% from £7.38 to £7.70 per hour
  • Increasing the rate for 18 to 20 year olds by 4.2% from £5.90 to £6.15 per hour
  • Increasing the rate for 16 to 17 year olds by 3.6% from £4.20 to £4.35 per hour
  • Increasing the rate for apprentices by 5.4% from £3.70 to £3.90 per hour
 


CQC opens consultation opens on fees for registered providers

CQC wants to hear your views on the fees they propose to charge providers in 2019/20.

The proposals follow their plans to meet the Treasury's requirement to recover their chargeable costs in full from providers and to make sure that the full costs of regulation are broadly aligned between sectors.

The consultation is open until noon on Thursday 17 January 2019.

To read more, and to have your say click here.


Andrea Sutcliffe to leave CQC

Andrea Sutcliffe CBE, Chief Inspector of Adult Social Care, has announced she will be leaving CQC at the end of this year to take up a new appointment as Chief Executive and Registrar of the Nursing and Midwifery Council in January.

Andrea said:

"I am very sad to be leaving CQC after five challenging but very rewarding years. It has been a great privilege to be the first Chief Inspector of Adult Social Care and I would like to thank everyone for their support.

"Working with colleagues across the organisation, past and present, and in co-production with the public, providers and our partners we have achieved a great deal in the last five years. There will always be more to do, but I know that the strong team I work with will continue to drive improvement for people who use services, and I am confident that with Ian and Peter at the helm the CQC will continue to go from strength to strength."


Fire Safety

The London Fire Brigade have publised a guide to fire safety in the home. Download it here.


Skills for Care research into Registered Managers

Skills for Care’s research into who registered managers are and what they do has revealed new insights into one of the most influential roles in adult social care.

Despite the crucial role that registered managers play in the provision of good care, relatively little research exists around them or their experiences.

What has emerged from this exploratory research. with responses from over 800 registered managers, is a picture of a rewarding, yet challenging and evolving role that needs greater recognition in the sector and robust, ongoing support.

Key research highlights

Registered managers are highly committed individuals running a range of services and the personal rewards of the role can be great, with many managers talking about their role as a ‘passion’ not just a job. That means support for this key group of leaders is vital.

The study found that:
  • almost 80% of managers felt that their role had changed since they first started. Whilst 73% of these managers said their role was more varied, 83% also acknowledged it was more pressured 
  • 70% of managers were offered their first registered manager post by an existing employer; the majority hadn’t planned to become a manager (instead taking an opportunity when it arrived) 
  • a manager’s role is busy and varied. Managers were typically splitting their time between day-to-day operations, working with families and relatives, working with external partners, leadership and business strategy 
  • over a third of respondents also reported performing tasks not in their job descriptions 
  • only 20% of managers felt that the role had become better recognised over time.

 

The size and structure of the adult social care sector and workforce in England, 2018

Summary of key findings

Employers

  • An estimated 21,200 organisations were involved in providing or organising adult social care in England as at 2017.
  • An estimated 41,000 establishments were involved in providing or organising adult social care in England as at 2017.
  • Around 240,000 adults, older people and carers received direct payments from councils’ social services departments in 2016/2017. It is estimated that approximately  70,000 (29%) of these recipients were employing their own staff.


Workforce size

  • The number of adult social care jobs in England as at 2017 was estimated at 1.6 million.
  • The number of adult social care jobs was estimated to have increased by around 1.2% (19,000 jobs) between 2016 and 2017.
  • Since 2009 the number of adult social care jobs has increased by 21% (275,000 jobs).
  • The rate of increase for adult social care jobs has slowed – between 2014 and 2017 the workforce grew by around 15,000 jobs per year compared to an average increase of 45,000 per year between 2010 and 2014.
  • The number of full-time equivalent (FTE) jobs was estimated at 1.13 million.
  • The number of people working in adult social care was estimated at 1.47 million.


Workforce structure

  • Since 2009, the workforce has continued to shift away from local authority jobs (-39% and -70,000 jobs) and towards independent sector jobs ( 28% or 275,000 jobs).
  • The number of jobs for care homes with nursing decreased between 2016 and 2017 (by 5,000 to around 285,000 jobs). This figure had, however, increased by 24% (55,000 jobs) between 2009 and 2016.
  • Registered nurses were one of the only jobs in adult social care to see a significant decrease over the period (down 9,500 or 18% since 2012).


Workforce forecasts

  • If the adult social care workforce grows proportionally to the projected number of people aged 65 and over in the population then the number of adult social care jobs will increase by 40% (650,000 jobs) to around 2.25 million jobs by 2035.

Read the Full Report here


Criminal Records Check did not breach Applicant's Human Rights rules Supreme Court

A man did not have his human rights infringed upon when a criminal record check revealed to potential employers he had been acquitted of a crime, the Supreme Court ruled this morning. (30th July 2018).
 


CQC change how they inspect adult social care services

CQC has changed how they will inspect adult social care services. The changes are included in the new version of CQC's guidance, "How CQC monitors, inspects and regulates adult social care services." (May 2018). Some areas that contain changes from the November 2017 version of the guidance include:

  • CQC will no longer carry out questionnaires prior to inspections, see paragraph 'Community services', 
  • 'Feedback on the visit', 
  • 'Services repeatedly rated requires improvement', 

CQC Website www.cqc.org.uk


Skills for Care and Autism awareness learning resources

Skills for Care have updated the list of learning resources from across the sector. They aim to increase awareness and understanding of autism, to enable front line care workers to better recognise and respond to the needs of autistic people. Managers of autism services can use the resources during induction, supervision and for ongoing learning and development to ensure their staff have the right skills and knowledge and #lovetolearn. They can also use them to develop their own leadership and management skills.

Download the updated list.


Independent Age guide on Home Safety

Independent Age have produced a guide for older people living at home on Home Safety This guide can help people identify some of the common hazards in their home and advise on preventive measures. It includes some simple checks people can do for themselves and also advises how people can get help to keep safe and well.

Providers may want to give this very readable guide to service users which has a quick quiz to see how safety-conscious they are.

 


Annual Registered social care managers forum 2018

Social Care Wales have announced the dates for their annual registered social care managers forum. Taking place on a number of dates between the 13th and 28th of June across Wales, the event will provide an opportunity for social care managers to discuss current issues, network with peers and share ideas.

The full list of dates and details of how to book on to the event can be found on the Social Care Wales website.

 


All Wales induction framework for health and social care launched

Social Care Wales have launched a new tool aimed at helping care workers gain the skills, knowledge and understanding needed to provide high-quality care. The induction framework was launched by the Minister for Children and Social Care, Huw Irranca-Davies, on the 25th of April 2018.

The new induction framework has been developed in partnership between Social Care Wales, the NHS Wales Workforce Education Service, employers and learning providers in Wales.

The framework can be downloaded from the Social Care Wales website.
 


Plans to reform disclosure system in Scotland

The Scottish Government is consulting on plans to reform the disclosure regime in Scotland. A pre consultation engagement showed that people think the current system is too complicated, so the plans aim to simplify the current system and prepare it for the next ten years, with increased digitalisation.

The consultation, which is open to 18 July 2018, includes changes to both the PVG scheme and barring service, among other changes.

Read Consultation paper



New insight and advice to help you improve your CQC rating

Skills for Care asked good and outstanding care providers what they do to achieve this rating, which they are sharing in their updated 'Good and outstanding care guide'.

If you're looking for ways to improve your service and ensure you deliver good and outstanding care, download the free online edition. You can also buy a printed copy of the extended workbook edition, with activities to help you implement change in your organisation.
 


New CQC chief executive appointed

The new chief executive of the Care Quality Commission is Ian Trenholm, current chief of the NHS Blood and Transplant Authority. He takes up the role in July, when David Behan steps down. Mr Trenholm started his career in the police and was also Chief Operating Officer at the Department of Environment Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) and Chief Executive of the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead. CQC announcement

 


CQC asks you to support the transformation of registration

CQC is working to transform its approach to registration with the aim of streamlining and improving its processes to reduce burden and costs for providers. They are asking for your direct input into the development of their approach. They are looking for registered managers or providers of services offering personal care. This includes home care, extra care, Shared Lives and supported living services.

They  want to ensure that their processes are appropriate for everyone and are interested in individuals who have disabilities, use assistive technologies or are not confident in using digital systems. This is a unique opportunity to:

  • Influence the future of managing registration and create a smoother experience
  • Share feedback on your existing experience directly with CQC colleagues who are developing the approach
  • Get first sight of and help test potential new systems and processes.

Please email CQC at [email protected] to get involved.



Pay in the  adult social  care sector 

This new report from Skills For Care's workforce intelligence team shares the latest care worker hourly pay rate information for the independent sector at February 2018.

Key findings are:

  • the average care worker was better off, in real terms, by 45p per hour in February 2018 than they were in September 2012 (6%)
  • the pay gap between the most experienced care workers and those new to the sector has narrowed from 39p in 2012 to 14p in 2018
  • since the introduction of the National Living Wage (NLW), the proportion of care workers being paid the minimum rate has almost doubled
  • as at February 2018, approximately 40% of independent sector workers aged 25 or over were paid less than the next mandatory National Living Wage (£7.83 from 1 April 2018). This equates to around 450,000 jobs being directly affected by the next increase in the NLW.

Read the full report.



New requirements to ensure care workers are treated fairly come into force

Welsh Government requirements to ensure care workers who look after people in their own homes are treated fairly came into force on 2 April. Further information is available on the Welsh Government website.



Re-Registration of Care Services

From April 2018 the law will change as part of the Regulation and Inspection of Social Care (Wales) Act 2016. This means that some care services will be required to re-register their service with Care Inspectorate Wales.

Which services need to re-register?

  • ·         Care homes
  • ·         Children’s homes
  • ·         Domiciliary care
  • ·         Residential family centres, and,
  • ·         Secure accommodation services.

These services will also be required to designate Responsible Individuals (RIs).

You must submit an application to re-register using CIW Online.

From April 2018 CIW will determine your application, and will be in touch with you after this date. For more information about when you can apply to re-register please visit CIW’s process page.


 

Increase in National living wage and national minimum wage from 1st April 2018

The national living wage applies to workers aged 25 and over and will increase from £7.50 to £7.83 per hour while the national minimum wage will increase as follows:
  • 21 to 24 year old rate from £7.05 to £7.38 per hour;
  • 18 to 20 year old rate from £5.60 to £5.90 per hour;
  • 16 to 17 year old rate from £4.05 to £4.20 per hour; and
  • apprentice rate from £3.50 to £3.70 per hour.

 

Increase in Statutory payments

  • From 1 April, statutory maternity/paternity/adoption/shared parental pay will increase from £140.98 to £145.18 a week.
  • Statutory sick pay will increase from £89.35 to £92.05 per week on 6 April 2018


CQC announce new Fee Structure

From April 2018 a new calculation will be used, of £45.77 per service user (capped at a minimum of £239 and a maximum of £78,047 per location).  The formula for the new fee scheme for “Community Social Care” services is available at www.cqc.org.uk/guidance-providers/fees/fees-calculator.
 


New online system for provider information return (CQC)

From April 2018 providers will start receiving email requests to complete their provider information return (PIR) using the new online system, which is currently being tested by over 300 volunteers.
 

What you need to know:

  • The new PIR benefits from more flexibility, easier navigation and the ability to print out.
  • While we transition between the two systems the time to complete the PIR will remain at four weeks, and CQC will continue to use the current PIR.
  • CQC will continue to make improvements to the new system based on your feedback.
  • The two systems will differ slightly, as CQC cannot make the same improvements to the current system that they are making to the new one. Every effort is being taken to reduce the burden to providers completing a PIR within the current system.
  • You will need to validate your account when you register for the new system, so please ensure the email address CQC have on their system for your service is correct. You can update your email address if it is not.
  • Providers will have the option to use a single account across their organisation to view and update information for all locations. The same login details must be used to do this.


CQC announces its regulatory fees for providers for 2018/19

Following a public consultation last year, CQC have outlined the fees that providers of health and adult social care in England will pay from April 2018 to cover the costs of their regulation. CQC made proposals that affected NHS trusts, NHS GPs and community social care providers. These providers have received a letter outlining the detail of the changes. You can find the annual fee for your service for 2018/19 using the fees calculator published on our website. You can also find guidance on how and when to pay your fees, including information on paying by instalment.

 


Encouraging 'requires improvement' services to improve

From 1 November 2017, for services rated overall as requires improvement on one or more occasions, we (CQC) are taking proportionate action to encourage prompt improvement to a rating of at least good. This includes services already rated as requires improvement before 1 November 2017.

Inspectors will use their judgement to take proportionate and flexible action to encourage the service to improve. They will take the following steps, depending on the issues they identify and the circumstances of the service:

  • At the first requires improvement rating, we will write to inform the provider that subsequent ratings of requires improvement may constitute a breach of Regulation 17 (good governance) and suggest sources of help for the provider to seek improvement. The letter will be copied to the lead commissioner, where appropriate.
  • Where there is a breach of the regulations, we will consider proportionate enforcement action, as stated in our enforcement policy and guidance.
  • We may request the provider to complete and return (within 28 days) an Improvement Action Plan to demonstrate how and by when they will make improvements to the quality and/or safety of their service to achieve an overall rating of at least good. This will be requested under Regulation 17(3) Health and Social Care Act 2008 (Regulated Activities) Regulations 2014.
  • We may also seek a meeting with the provider, Registered Manager and where appropriate the commissioner to discuss our concerns, improvements needed and support that may be available. After the meeting we will send a letter to the provider, confirming the points agreed. This may include requesting the completion of an Improvement Action Plan.


Volunteers needed to test digital registration tool

CQC is transforming its approach to registration with the aim of streamlining and improving processes to reduce some of the burden and time costs for providers. We are seeking direct input from providers into the development of our approach.

We are looking for expressions of interest to be involved from aspiring or new registered managers of existing personal care providers, this includes registered managers of domiciliary care services, extra care housing, shared lives and supported living services.

This is an opportunity to:

  • Influence the future of how you manage your registration and create a smoother and speedier experience.
  • Share feedback on your existing experience directly with the team developing the new approach.
  • Help test the new registration systems and share your views on them, including where we need to make further improvements or changes.

Please email us if you are interested in getting involved.


Jeremy Hunt sets out principles for the Social Care Green Paper

Jeremy Hunt, Secretary of State for Health and Social care set out the seven key principles that will guide the development of the social care green paper due to be published in summer 2018. These are:

  1. Quality
  2. Whole-person integrated care
  3. Control
  4. Workforce
  5. Supporting families and carers
  6. A sustainable funding model for social care supported by a diverse, vibrant and stable market
  7. Security for all.

Amongst the highlights of the speech were references to the possibility of independent Ofsted-style ratings for commissioners, a consultation on Personal Health Budgets and the announcement of an NHS 10-year workforce strategy with the needs of the NHS and social care sectors considered together and fully aligned.

On sustainable funding, Jeremy Hunt said that the Green Paper will 'jump start' the debate about funding for the future and stated that the Government is clear that there has to be a partnership between the state and individuals, and also the system needed to include an element of risk-pooling.

Read the full speech here.
 


Councils raiding reserves to fund adult social care

The report from the National Audit Office (NAO) on the Financial Sustainability of Local Authorities 2018 confirms what the social care sector already knew about funding vital adult social care services. With two thirds of local authorities with social care responsibilities drawing on their financial reserves in 2016-17 it's not surprising that the NAO finds current trends are financially unsustainable over the medium term.

The NAO reports on increasing demand for services together with increased costs and says that one in 10 councils with social care responsibilities will have exhausted their reserves within the next three years if the current rate of expenditure continues. Given that local authorities have been delivering savings since 2010, the NAO concludes they are nearing the end of their ability to make further service savings without impacting on front-line services.
 


CQC should speed up publication of inspection reports

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) has improved significantly since 2012 said the Public Account Committee (PAC) which is responsible for scrutinising the value for money of public expenditure. However, the PAC considers CQC needs to improve its current performance. It does not make inspection reports available to the public quickly enough and it needs to improve how it interacts with and regulates GP practices. With health and care providers under severe financial pressure, CQC's workload is likely to increase if services deteriorate. CQC needs to monitor this closely and understand the impact on its staff requirements. CQC must improve its information systems and has more work to do to ensure it has the wide range of intelligence it needs to identify early warning signs of poor care.

Read the PAC report here.
 


Nothing for Social Care in Chancellor's Spring Statement

Although the Chancellor of the Exchequer, the Rt Hon Philip Hammond MP, recognised the pressures facing the NHS and local authorities, he didn't make any new spending commitments for social care in his Spring Statement to Parliament. Despite forecasting a small current surplus for 2018/19, the Chancellor said public spending and investment will be increased in the years ahead, but only if public finances continue on the improved path and borrowing continues to fall.

Although no new spending was announced, Philip Hammond confirmed that £80m is being released to support small businesses in engaging an apprentice. He also said that business rates revaluation would be brought forward 12 months to 2021. There was a call for evidence to eliminate late payments to small businesses, and he made the first allocations of the £190 million local full-fibre challenge fund announced at the Autumn Budget while also confirming £25 million for the first 5G testbeds.

No doubt pressures for more spending on public spending will increase as we head towards the 2018 Autumn Budget. However, given that in his Spring Statement, the Chancellor announced a multiyear Whitehall spending review, the real battles over public spending will come in 2019.

You can read the full Spring Statement here.
 


DOLS system will be replaced

Caroline Dinenage, Minister of State at the Department of Health and Social Care, announced in Parliament the Government's final response to the Law Commission's report on mental capacity and Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DoLS). The government has accepted (or accepted in principle) 42 of 47 recommendations, with only one rejected “ the proposed statutory codification of the law in relation to mental capacity and children" and four others deferred for consideration as part of the separate independent review of the Mental Health Act. However, legislation to replace DoLS will only happen when parliamentary time allows.

Read the Minister's announcement here.
 


Manchester City Council increase to homecare businesses will not cover costs of care

Manchester City Council announced via their website, that from April 2018, homecare workers would receive a pound an hour increase in their pay. Acknowledging that careworkers are often the lowest paid people in the city, the council's announcement said that careworkers will receive £8.75 an hour, which is Manchester's Living Wage.

UKHCA's Policy Director, Colin Angel, responding to the announcement on Twitter said that the aspiration from Manchester City Council that careworkers should receive UK Living Wage should be applauded, but the rhetoric isn't supported by the £15.20 per hour rate the council intends to pay, which doesn't come close to covering providers' costs. UKHCA's minimum price for homecare services from April 2018 is £20.03 per hour where the employer is paying the (voluntary) UK Living Wage of £8.75.

Cllr Bev Craig, Manchester City Council Executive Member for Adult Services, replied that the announcement on the increase was made after proper conversation with homecare providers and providers had agreed to the rate of £15.20 an hour, which is an increase from £13.20 an hour.

 


CQC looks to hire 100 more inspectors after £10m underspend

The National Health Executive, an independent management magazine for the health sector, has reported that CQC is planning to hire an additional 100 inspectors to decrease the current workload on its staff, specifically for those investigating the adult social care sector. The report goes on to say that a recent staff survey pointed to workload pressures as one of the key issues faced by the organisation, which - coupled with a reported £10.2m underspend largely down to pay - has prompted CQC to push for greater recruitment. It is expected that there will be increased pressure on the inspectorate's finances in the future, with a warning that continued reduction of expenditure will be necessary as the budget drops from £223m to £217m.

Read the National Health Executive article here.
 



Scottish Government publishes summary of health and social care experiences

The Scottish Government has published a summary of the free text responses that were given by the public about health and social care services, as part of a survey in 2016. Comments highlighted the need for continuity of care, with regular workers at consistent times, to suit individual need rather than resource priorities.

The summary can be accessed via the Scottish Government's publications page.
 


New Dementia strategy launched in Wales

The Welsh Government announced a new dementia strategy in February 2018. The new document 'The Dementia Action Plan for Wales 2018-22' seeks to improve on many aspects of dementia care, including living as well as possible with dementia for as long as possible. The overall aim is to make Wales a dementia-friendly nation.

The full strategy and action plan can be accessed on the Welsh Government website.

 


Social Care Wales seek views on draft equality plan

Social Care Wales has launched a consultation over its draft equality plan and objectives. The four year plan is based on a principle of promoting equality and valuing diversity. It sets out:

  • The six equality objectives;
  • How SCW will identify and collect equality information;
  • How SCW will publish equality information;
  • How SCW will carry out impact assessments; and
  • How SCW will promote knowledge, and understanding, of the equality duties to their staff.

The consultation period will run until 27th April. The draft equality plan and the short survey can be accessed on the Social Care Wales website

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