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Residential Forum Notes March 2016

Posted on the 1st April 2016

These are notes (not minutes) and reflect the opinions and understandings of those present

Mary Anson chaired the meeting.

The meeting opened with a discussion around the RAS as no information seems to be available on what is happening. One provider has had a single assessment carried out across their 100 service users. Another reported that from their 4 assessments, 2 had reduced in price.

The general belief is that all assessments will be prioritised based on need, however the evidence suggests that this is not the case. It would appear that only new admissions are being assessed, although one provider has had some residents re-assessed while others in the same home are still waiting for their first assessment.

One provider has had all their residents assessed, however the assessor came down from the Midlands. Others also reported assessors coming from out of county.

There was a discussion on the disparity between assessors as some service user’s needs are being assessed far higher that the providers would expect, and some far lower.

In the absence of any further information on the RAS, the expectation is that all assessments are due to be completed by the end of May 2016.

David read the following statement that had been given at the recent Framework meeting with Jim McKenna.

1/ I was concerned about the future of the framework meeting - in particular that the Portfolio holder was considering his role and input into this forum due to workload pressures.  I stated that this would be a retrograde step and that the sector would have been in a far worse state than at present had the framework mechanism not been set up - and for this we were grateful.

 2/ The Scrutiny Committee had not discharged their statutory duties in that - at the present time - a report was not available.

 3/ Under the Care Act, Cornwall Council was responsible for ensuring that a "vibrant and dynamic marketplace exists".  At regular contract review meetings, Providers had provided financial information which would evidence failure by the Council to enact their responsibilities in this regard - in particular that Providers were running at a loss, breaking even, or making minimal returns, so that - in many cases - sustainability was only achieved by utilising "reserves".  External advice indicated "that the Council could have been in breach of Section 5 of the Care Act by not setting a realistic price  - which then caused completely arbitrary and unnecessary financial strain on providers - together with market uncertainty.  This was a failure on the part of the Council under the Care Act because they have a statutory duty to ensure a vibrant stable marketplace.  Furthermore, I indicated commencement of maladministration proceedings could be considered against specific named council officers and elected members who had responsibility for social care and had failed to enact the necessary measures.

 4/ There had been no information on how the 2% Council tax increase was going to be applied to the sector - with only 1 week to go before the new Living Wage was introduced.  Providers were unable to conduct any financial planning without this information being available.

 5/ In addition to taking legal advice on the matters referred to above, CPIC would also consider a "non co-operation" proposal with any service improvement matters until the Council had got "its own act in order", and the wider membership would shortly be consulted on these proposals."

A discussion took place around quality inspections by the Council (and Healthwatch). The duplication of inspections increases the costs to providers as additional staff are required and sometimes inspections are cancelled with very short notice.

It was highlighted by some members that outside of CPIC’s forum, information is not always forthcoming from the Council. It was reported that the last Provider Forum was October 2015.

Feedback was provided on the Out of Hours contact number provided for Easter which was only circulated at 17:55 on the Thursday evening before Good Friday. The email even referenced that providers should receive the info a week prior to the Easter break!

Mary presented two documents that had been written, one outlining the affects that the National Living Wage (NLW) will have on providers. On average, meeting the NLW will cost providers more than an additional £1000 per bed per year between 2015 and 2020. The second document was a proposal to suggest at our AGM the withdrawal of co-operation with the Service Improvement Team. The meeting agreed that this proposal should be put to the membership at the AGM.

An email had been circulated requesting nominations for representatives for the Enabling Discharge Group. Both David and Mary are willing to put their names forward and are happy for members to nominate them.

A discussion took place around recruitment. Some providers have seen a marked increase in the number and quality of applications, however others are still struggling and describe the situation as dire. A few providers have reported successfully using Facebook as a recruitment tool.

One provider did mention that any advert in the job centre generates more enquiries from other agencies offering to promote their advert than any actual applications.

Some providers are starting to see staff that had left previously returning to their employment.

Richard was asked to create short survey to look at outstanding fees owed to providers as this is once again becoming a serious issue. One provider reported that they raised a safeguarding alert due to the impact that the fees owed were having on the resident and the business in general. The procedure took several months, but the full amount outstanding was received.

It was reported that in Plymouth, the flat rate had been uplifted. A discussion took place around how Plymouth met the Care Act with a flat rate if service users are not individually assessed.

CPIC’s AGM is scheduled for the 25th April and Martin green of Care England will be talking. It was recommended that we ask him to talk about the national agenda as well as our local issues such as duplication, the RAS, and CPIC’s current activities.

There was a strong consensus that CPIC are the right people to represent the sector and that the trajectory now being started by CPIC is the correct one.

Next Residential Forum is 25th May 2016


  • Richard to create a survey for outstanding fees owed to providers