Councils pay too little for home care services

Topics covered: Ridouts professional advice

A BBC investigation has revealed that most councils in England are paying less than the industry recommended minimum for personal home care.

There is no legal minimum price for the provision of homecare in England.  This is partly due to geographical differences.  However, the UKHCA, which represents providers, suggests they should be paid a minimum of £15.19 an hour.  The price is calculated to cover wages, training and travel.

A Freedom of Information request found that only four out of 101 cases demonstrated hourly fees over the suggested minimum set by UKHCA.  One provider stated that quality of care is not possible at the current rates being paid.

The BBC found that the average minimum rate paid by councils was £12.26 an hour – significantly lower than the minimum of £15.19 an hour.

Colin Angel of UKHCA said fees being paid were too low, adding that “many councils exploit their dominant purchasing power in local markets to reduce prices.”  He urged councils to work with providers to ensure that care provision remained sustainable.

Norman Lamb, the Care and Support Minister said “local authorities must consider how they can do things differently to deliver better outcomes and quality for people who need it.  We know there are plenty of good examples of commissioning by council, but we want this to be the reality everywhere.”

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