Councils should raise social care precept, says Tim Hammond
Caring Times, May 2017
Tim Hammond, chief executive of Four Seasons Health Care, who was called to provide evidence to the inquiry, said: “The Communities and Local Government Committee has recognised that there remains a huge social care funding gap, despite the Chancellor’s welcome commitment to provide an additional ?2bn over the next three years.
“Councils should use the powers they have been given to raise a precept of up to 3% this year on top of council tax, which is intended to provide additional funding for social care. This, together with the additional government funding will not be enough to tackle the pressures on care providers who have seen a real-terms 5% reduction over three or four years in fees councils pay for care home places, but it is vital as an immediate measure to help mitigate the additional cost of care staff as a result of the National Living Wage.
“The Committee shares the concern of care providers that councils are increasingly taking a “price first, quality second approach” in their commissioning of social care. The Committee found evidence of councils involved in poor consultation and unfair contracts with providers. Some councils have been paying as little as ?2.24 an hour for care in a home.
“Care providers welcome the Committee’s recommendation that Care Quality Commission oversee the market shaping, commissioning and procurement activities of councils.
“We also welcome that the Committee has listened to providers and is recommending a standard process both for assessing the costs of care, taking into account local variations in wage rates, and for setting fair prices that reflect costs, in order to help guide local authorities in setting fees.”