David Hare asked the Executive Member for Health, Wellbeing and Adult Services the following question:
Thank you for Agenda item 49: Support and Care Procurement. This will bring in a framework agreement and resolve the fact, over time, that there are many individual contracts and spot purchases in WBC Adult Services. I hope this will enable a consistent and good quality service for all users, while, in the long term, also reducing cost. As Liberal Democrats, we would encourage this type of development to stabilise services and costs. How is the Executive Member for Health, Wellbeing and Adult Services, going to ensure that, while developing this framework, people in care settings do not have disruptive or unnecessary changes to their care?
Our ambition is for Wokingham Borough to be one of the best Boroughs in the country for adults and carers in need of support and care to live, where they feel safe, included and to be a key part of our community. Our procurement, basically which this is part of, will help us achieve this ambition and with our partners will enable us to prevent, reduce and delay the need for formal support and care and where possible to improve people’s health and wellbeing, focusing on prevention and self-help.
Supported Living is a service designed to help people with a wide range of support needs to retain their independence by being supported in their own home. Home care is looking after a person from the comfort of their own home.
At any one time there are approximately 700 people who are in receipt of a supported living or a home care service. Approximately 30 adult care packages are let every month totalling 360 per year. Providers on the framework will support vulnerable adults, adults with disabilities and older people to achieve the desired outcomes that are important and personal to them. They will help deliver Wokingham’s ambitions for adult social care in the Borough, to ensure that all residents are enabled to achieve their personal goals and ambitions, in a context which promotes safety, independence and choice.
It is the intention that through this procurement exercise we will continue to meet all of our obligations under the Care Act, ensuring a sustainable and vibrant market that provides high quality services to residents and offers value for money for the Council. At the centre of this is our aim to ensure that services are personalised and are in the best interest of our clients. We recognise the importance of ensuring continuity for all residents and minimising disruption.
The Care and Support Framework is being developed in collaboration with our local market and social care providers and they will have the opportunity to work with us when making this framework. We will continue to work with all our care providers and make this as open and transparent as possible. It is anticipated that virtually all of the providers we currently work with will join the framework. These providers will transfer with their current packages of care, with the client experiencing no disruption in service.
There will be a six month mobilisation for the new framework. We will work closely with providers that may choose not to engage with the procurement exercise or may be unsuccessful in their tender submissions. These packages will be reviewed, and a decision may be made to change provision to a framework provider where it is in the best interests of the client. This would be managed and clients would be fully supported via a social worker. Alternatively clients can be offered direct payments allowing them to receive their existing service with their existing provider if they choose to do so.
We recognise that at times people’s needs may be better met by providers who are not on the framework and our process will allow us to use these providers as we need, ensuring that the clients’ interest is the main focus and priority.
My supplementary is two-fold in some ways because you said that you would hopefully be able to reduce some people’s care because this was all streamlined and so on and I wondered how that will happen? I would have hoped that they were getting the care they need at the moment.
Also the fact that you say that you might well be able to use services outside the framework. I am not sure how that works because you are setting up a framework and then you say we could also use providers outside the framework if you need to.
All existing contracts for care will remain in place until the framework starts. So there will be no change to any resident who is using a contract at the moment.
To deal with your second point first we want the best for our residents and we will always, if somebody wants to use another provider and wants to bring that into the discussion, we will always look at those people. The framework is not a rigid set of rules and it will change over time to reflect basically what is happening in the market place, what people want, and what the situation is that people want.
Our aim is very much to use this to drive quality, to increase choice and to create more stability as well as for the sake of the Council to create more financial control over what we are doing going forwards.
We are the biggest budget in the Council and everybody knows the situation with national funding of adult social care, which is a continuing pressure, and it is very important that every pound we spend is spent wisely but the full focus is going to be on achieving the right levels of care for residents. What will happen basically when the framework starts is that people will have the option of staying on the existing contract or moving into the framework and they can choose to stay on the existing contract if they wish to. That is very much the aim of what we are doing here. Better quality, more security basically and a better deal for residents and a better relationship with our suppliers going forward.