A total of £1.4bn will be made available over three years to help increase the fee rates local authorities pay to care providers, Government has announced today.
Further funding of more than £1bn will be available for local authorities in 2022/23 to fund social care. This will help councils respond effectively to rising demand and cost pressures.
This is on top of the £300m announced last week for workforce recruitment and retention – taking the total to £462.5m.
The Government has said this £1.4bn will help local authorities to support a fairer cost of care.
It is part of the £5.4bn Health and Social Care Levy which the Government says will also, through charging reform, protect people from unpredictable care costs and move to a position where people who fund their own care to access the same fee rates for care in care homes that local authorities pay.
Minister for Care Gillian Keegan said, ‘Not only are we tackling the immediate challenge of COVID-19 but the longer term need to reform adult social care.
‘This is the start of the journey but one we will take alongside caregivers, providers, local authorities and those receiving care.’
The workforce survey, published today, has also shown what was already known, staff shortages and the pandemic have combined to leave the social care sector struggling in spite of the incredible efforts by staff.
The Government announced last week that care workers will benefit from a £300m extension, in addition to the £162.5m announced in October, to support recruitment and retention. The funding can be used to pay for bonuses and bring forward planned pay rises for care staff, fund overtime and staff banks increasing workforce numbers up until the end of March. Grant conditions are being published today.
This is on top of the £500m for workforce training, qualifications and wellbeing announced as part of the levy.
This is all part of the wider plans to improve social care and fulfil the ten year vision set out in the adult social care reform white paper - ‘People at the Heart of Care’. Further details on integration will follow early next year.
Vic Rayner OBE, CEO of the NCF said, ‘As the leading voice for the not for profit sector, we welcome the DHSC plans to work closely with the sector to develop the approach to the fair cost of care exercises. These are the foundation of the ambition to move to a fair price for care and we are looking forward to shaping an inclusive, accurate & honest approach to these.’
Vic Rayner OBE added, ‘This Statement does however contain some alarm bells. Given that we are only at the start of this journey in determining the fair price for care, it is hard to understand how the DHSC has already stipulated an estimate of £600m funding for each of the following two years to address the unfair cross subsidy issue and move to a realistic fully funded fair price for care. Other estimates to address the shortfall in care funding have arrived at a figure closer to £7bn a year. The funding required to achieve this must be urgently reviewed in light of the outcome of the fair price for care cost exercises – not set before they are even carried out!’
The NCF has also highlighted that more detail is needed on how the DHSC views the likely progress of individuals in their ability to exercise their requests under section 18.3 of the Care Act. Vic Rayner explains, ‘The ambition to enable more people who fund their own care to ask their local authority to arrange care on their behalf to secure better value rests, fundamentally, on local authorities’ ability to pay a fair price for that care. Failure to do so will result in huge market instability and the closure of many services as they become financially unsustainable.’
Visit the Government website to read more about the Government's funding to support the workforce.
In other news, The Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) published its annual report this week, which outlined several recommendations to Government to alleviate short term issues in the labour market.