Thursday, 29 August 2013

A sad reflection on social care procurement

Last night's Newsnight didn't do any favours for public procurement and particularly those responsible for social services.

In summary, the report highlighted that some organisations, contracted to provide home care, only pay staff for the specific time the careworkers are in the users home (no travelling time getting between users locations is paid for) and, as a result, the carers, considering all their actual working time, are paid below the minimum wage.

For quite some time it has been recognised that it makes good sense to keep those who need care in their own homes as long as is safe - it improves their quality of life and reduces the national costs of placing users in care homes. That being the case, the aim should be to ensure good quality home care provision which also means paying for appropriate quality staff.

We have discussed some of the implications of when care provision goes wrong in the past.

Bad as that is, the real disappointment was in the interview with the social services (ADSS) spokesperson. Her analysis was that bidders could choose what price to bid at and the conditions of employment. If that was actually her justification it is seriously flawed. Those procuring social care need to recognise the risks of contracting at rates which are unsustainable and cannot deliver the level of service required. There needs to be much more due diligence.

All together the Newsnight report was not good for those who procure social care, but worse it was not good for those who are dependent on that care if 'lowest price' regardless is the strategy now being pursued.

1 comment:

  1. ADSS rep didn't do herself any favours. Procurers are keen to move to outcomes plus payment by results to end the unsustainable cutthroat market. What seems to be happening over time is that the suppliers drop out leaving only one main supplier. Also the computer system used for billing is not as robust as described.