DHSC has set out how local authorities in England will move towards fair care payments.
In the Fair Cost of Care and Market Sustainability Fund: Purpose and Conditions for 2022-23 statement, local authorities have been given until September 22 to conduct a costing exercise to inform fairer funding.
This exercise will include the following elements:
- conduct a cost of care exercise to determine the sustainable rates and identify how close authorities are to it
- engage with local providers to improve data on operational costs and number of self-funders to better understand the impact of reform on the local market (particularly the 65+ residential care market)
- strengthen capacity to plan for, and execute, greater market oversight (as a result of increased section 18(3) commissioning) and improved market management to ensure markets are well positioned to deliver on our reform ambitions
- use additional funding to genuinely increase fee rates, as appropriate to local circumstances.
To ensure that local authorities are able to move towards paying a fair cost of care, we are providing an additional £1.4 billion over the next 3 years. This forms part of the £3.6 billion confirmed at Spending Review 2021 to implement Charging Reform. £162 million will be allocated in 2022 to 2023 to support local authorities as they prepare their markets for reform. A further £600 million will be made available in both 2023 to 2024 and 2024 to 2025.
DHSC has said that it reserves the right to withhold future fair cost of care funding until satisfied that all fund conditions have been met.
Vic Rayner OBE, CEO of the National Care Forum, has described the statement says: “It is essential that this exercise is not simple tick box exercises. Local authorities must take the opportunity to work collaboratively with their social care providers to reset the dial on the fees they pay, and reach an honest and mutual agreement about a fully funded fair price for care.”
However, the NCF voices concern over the £600m allocations for 2023-25. “Other estimates to address the shortfall in care funding have arrived at a figure closer to £7bn a year.”