Norfolk County Council (NCC) invited all providers of home support services in Norfolk to this event. The aim of the day was to stocktake the key issues, developments, successes and challenges in the home support sector in Norfolk. Feedback was sought on the way NCC sources, contracts and commissions home support services. The day was structured to involve participants in a mixture of presentations, help desks and round table discussions.
The Head of Commissioning in North Norfolk and Lead for Home Support Services, introduced the programme for the day and gave an update of NCC spend on home support. There was an overview of the ‘Living Well’ strategy and its intention to work more closely with providers. The main challenges facing the markets were discussed including the increased population of older people, financial austerity, Brexit decisions, the delayed Green Paper for Social Care and integration of Health and Social Care and emerging Primary Care Networks (PCN).
A Commissioning Manager, presented an up-date on the ‘Every Day is Different’ social care recruitment campaign led by the Department of Work and Pensions and linked to Norfolk Care Careers. The campaign has already shown positive results both nationally and locally.
Three innovative new home support services were introduced to demonstrate that commissioners and providers are working together:
- A Mental Health Home Support service for people with severe and enduring mental health problems which is piloted in Norwich
- A Double Assist Home Support Service which is being tested in North Norfolk
- The Enhanced Home Support Service, which is a county-wide rapid response and short-term service for individuals with unplanned support needs.
The e-Brokerage Project Lead, presented a new care and support sourcing system which will be rolled out over the next 12 to 18 months. The system will initially be implemented for Residential and Nursing Homes followed by home support. The e-Brokerage System will make the allocation of care packages much more efficient by replacing manual processes with automated electronic processes. It will make the brokering of services more transparent and responsive.
The Analyst in the Quality and Market Development Team, presented key statistics on the NCC funded home care market in Norfolk by Primary Care Network Area. This included information on the profile of service users, CQC ratings of providers, unmet need trends and workforce statistics for the sector.
The Head of Sourcing, presented plans for opening and developing the current Home Support Framework. These are based on feedback from providers, experiences and lessons learnt from piloting the Framework in South, North and Norwich localities. The presentation included an outline for a new and up-dated Framework structure. The new model is likely to mean changes to the banded pricing and the audience was asked for feed-back on the proposed plans.
The consultant leading on development of the Norfolk Care Association (NCA) gave an overview on the progress of this important forum which is overseen by the Health and Social Care Consultative Forum. Funding has not yet been agreed but the aim is to have a NCA CEO in place by December 2019. Once appointed the CEO will need time to engage with providers which means NCA is unlikely to be established for another 9 months.
Over lunch providers took the opportunity to meet and raise questions and issues with helpdesk staff from the following NCC departments:
- Operational Locality team
- Procurement and Contracts
- Quality Assurance and Market Development
- Payments and Invoicing (Provider Portal)
- Norfolk First Support
The afternoon was spent in lively round table discussions on the following topics:
Faced with continuing austerity how can we deliver high-quality cost-effective home support services?
What can home support providers offer to facilitate access to services in the community?
There were many ideas and examples for how home support providers can strengthen and develop further links with the local communities that they serve.
The Head of Commissioning in North Norfolk and Lead for Home Support Services closed the session and thanked everybody for their attendance. The next steps for the Home Support Market are as follows:
- Simplify and update the Framework based on feedback from providers and lessons learnt from the current Framework by Friday 26 July 2019
- Issue tender for the new Framework by Wednesday 7 August 2019
- Implement the new Framework Agreement from Monday 16 September
- Run quarterly home support engagement events with providers to keep in contact with the market