Care providers launch legal action against Norfolk County Council
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Norfolk’s independent care providers have joined forces to bring a legal challenge against Norfolk County Council which they say has failed to take into account what it actually costs to provide good quality care and for what private providers describe as the disproportionate amount the council pays its own NorseCare homes.
An application for judicial review was submitted to the High Court on the 8th June. Tim Armitage, chair of the Fair Price for Care, Fair Pay for Carers Campaign, said that, not only did the Norfolk County Council pay NorseCare far more per person per week, but it paid Norsecare even if their beds were unoccupied.
“This enables them to pay much better wages than independent homes,” said Mr Armitage.
“Why does it cost so much more to provide care and support in a NorseCare home?
“Our carers are by far the most important part of delivering high quality services and we want to reward them appropriately for what is a very demanding and responsible job. This is just not possible on current council fee levels. We recognise that times are hard but when money is limited it should distributed fairly – the people of Norfolk deserve fairness.”
Mr Armitage said Norfolk County Council could be denying people choice as they strive to fill NorseCare beds first, as a result of their commitment to pay NorseCare for all their beds even when they are not occupied.
“It is really quite simple, either they are paying NorseCare far too much, or they are paying independent providers far too little,” he said.
“We want a level playing field so all care providers in Norfolk are able to reward their care teams fairly.”
In a statement, Norfolk County Council told Caring Times that it was working with the independent care sector to determine the cost of care in Norfolk, and this included members of the Fair Price for Care, Fair Pay for Carers campaign group.
“We’re disappointed that this legal action has been taken,” the council’s statement said.
“It’s no secret that local authority funds are extremely stretched. Nevertheless, we of course want to do all we can to ensure care providers in Norfolk are properly supported.
“The contract we have with NorseCare differs from any other arrangements in that it was set up specifically to invest in and replace the council’s ageing care accommodation over a period of 15 years. This is something the council wouldn’t have been able to commit to given the straitened financial circumstances local authorities find themselves in.”