Cheshire East Council is to invest a further £5m to pay for domiciliary and residential care services across the borough to help address the growing pressures from the adult social care sector.
The council will begin a new procurement process with independent care providers, including the domiciliary, residential and nursing care sectors, later this month. The council is proposing a six per cent increase in the current contract rate for nursing and residential care.
It is proposed to introduce a maximum contract rate of up to £18 per hour for domiciliary care, from the current rate of £14.20.
The extra funding will take the council’s budget for the adult care sector to around £80m. The uplift in fees paid for domiciliary care packages and care home beds will apply to all new contracts.
The council recently commissioned an independent review into the cost of care across the borough and the needs of its residents, as well as the challenges faced by the independent care sector.
Cheshire East Council’s cabinet agreed the additional funding at its meeting today (Tuesday).
The rise in funding is part of the authority’s obligation to ensure a sustainable provider market with sufficient high quality services to meet the borough’s care and support needs.
Currently, the council spends in the order of £49m each year to support residential and nursing care in the independent sector in addition to funding domiciliary care for adults in their home.
Domiciliary services cost the council in the region of £25m, including direct payments, the process that allows a resident to purchase their own care package directly with funding from the local authority.
Councillor Janet Clowes, cabinet member for adult social care and integration, said: “Cheshire East is now one of the highest ranked authorities in the North West in terms of care fees.
“That’s because we value the work that carers and the care sector do and we want to protect our older people and vulnerable adults.
“To do that we must have a sustainable provider market, whether it is an independent service carrying out personal care in the home or a residential care provider from whom we commission beds for the elderly and infirm, or those in need of more intense dementia care.
“The Care Act requires authorities to provide choice that delivers outcomes and improves wellbeing and one of the council’s core outcome strategies is to see our residents living long and healthy lives.”
Mark Palethorpe, acting executive director of people, said: “We want to shift from a ‘time and task’ process in the domiciliary care provision to an outcomes focus, with staff paid a fair wage and see investment in the provider sector.
“It is important too that we have a robust and healthy independent residential and nursing care sector so that residents in Cheshire East, who need to move to a care home, will be confident in the knowledge that the home is of a high professional standard.”