Summary of Home Support Provider Event – 19th July 2019

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Summary of Home Support Provider Event held at Dereham Football Club

on 19th July 2019

The Home Support Provider Event was attended by over 50 people with 33 representing Home Support providers and a variety of Norfolk County Council (NCC) staff. The aim of the day was to take stock of the Home Support Framework and share feedback that Commissioners have received from locality meetings with Providers. The event was structured into a mixture of presentations, help desks and round table discussions.

The Lead for Home Support Services introduced the programme and gave an update on NCC spend on Home Support and provided an overview of the ‘Living Well’ approach. The challenges facing the market were discussed, and Providers were encouraged to keep abreast of NCC initiatives, via the following links on the NCC website:

Commissioning gave an up-date on the ‘Every Day is Different’ Social Care recruitment campaign led by the Department of Work and Pensions. The local recruitment campaign is housed at the Norfolk Care Careers website which has 88 live vacancies. The campaign used social media to raise awareness of careers in the Sector and challenge negative perceptions of working in Social Care. From online advertising (between May to July 2019) 4,359 sessions were driven to the NCC website with 14,543-page views, and an average session duration of 2 mins 18 secs. This is extremely positive and demonstrates that visitors to the website were engaged with the contents and jobs available. The vacancies page was the most popular on the website for candidates, followed by ‘what makes a good Care worker’. All Providers were encouraged to upload their local jobs onto the Website.

Examples of the way Commissioners and Providers are working together, so that new types of agreements can be called off the Home Support Framework contract were highlighted. This demonstrates the versatility of the Framework approach and the ease that new services can be commissioned. These included:

  1. Specialist Mental Health Home Support service for people with severe and enduring mental health problems which is piloted in Norwich
  2. Double Assist Home Support Service which is being tested in North Norfolk
  3. Enhanced Home Support Service, which is a county-wide rapid response and short-term service for individuals with unplanned support needs.

A new digital sourcing platform, e-Brokerage, was introduced which provides electronic capability for the Council and Providers to engage on the provision of care / support packages. A set of requirements are created and sent to a selected group of Providers who respond if they can meet the requirements. The System will initially be implemented for residential and nursing homes followed by Home Support in 2020. Anyone interested in supporting the setup of e-Brokerage for Home Support was asked to contact the Brokerage team.

An analysis of current and future Home Support delivery for NCC funded Care was presented by an Analyst from the Quality Assurance and Market Development Team. The data was presented by Primary Care Network (PCN) area, as this is the structure that NHS England is using to deliver Care around clusters of GP practices. Up to date information on the profile of service users, CQC ratings of Providers, unmet need trends and workforce statistics were displayed. Providers were thanked for their help to reduce the number of people on the Unmet Needs List by 45% between January and June 2019.

Head of Sourcing shared the latest plans for opening the Home Support Framework across Norfolk. 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 final report on the formation of Norfolk Care Association (NCA) was presented by the consultant leading the consultation process. The Forum will act as a single body representing all Social Care organisations providing direct care to individuals and their families and operating in the Norfolk and Waveney area. Once the outcome of the funding proposal has been agreed the Interim Board will be recruiting a Chief Executive Officer. Providers should contact Norfolk Care Association if they would like to be involved in the recruitment process.

Over lunch providers took the opportunity to meet and raise questions and issues with helpdesk staff from the following NCC departments:

  • Operational Locality team
  • Brokerage
  • Procurement and Contracts
  • Quality Assurance and Market Development
  • Payments and Invoicing (Provider Portal)
  • Norfolk First Support.

The afternoon was spent in round table discussions on the following topics:

  1. Faced with continuing austerity how can we deliver high-quality cost-effective home support services?
  2. What can home support providers offer to facilitate access to services in the community?

The following are the main themes from the round table discussions:

Providers will go the extra mile to ensure service users have the best possible outcome

  • CCG or District boundaries are only relevant to providers if they make commercial sense and they have staff available.       Otherwise boundaries are immaterial to providers
  • Positive outcomes have been achieved where providers improve their working relationship and work together on how to make care as a profession attractive to potential staff
  • Some Providers are already signposting to GPs, community services (dog walkers etc.) and have specific campaigns e.g. Care Watch, Big Smile campaign.

If NCC systems and processes were slicker providers could accept packages quicker

  • Clear guidance on providers retaining a service user’s space on the rota whilst in hospital
  • Social Workers seem too risk adverse resulting in over prescription of support
  • Contingency funding used in a crisis takes too long to access and therefore the providers are front funding with no assurance they will get that money back.

A good training offer helps staff engagement and the efficiency of the Service will improve

  • Sharing of training and resources has potential to build relationships between providers
  • Norfolk Care Careers (NCC) recruitment platform is challenging for providers to use
  • A change in the perception of what it is like to work in the Care system needs to happen as it is undervalued.
  • Targeting the recruitment of mature people, looking for a change/second career can help with attracting new starters.
  • Values-based recruitment can help attract the right people to work in the Sector
  • Join up of Care and Health recruitment would be beneficial.
  • NCC think home support staff prefer set hours, but zero-hour contracts are highly favoured.

Organisations now have a clear agenda to link to community initiatives in tandem with providers but understanding of service user capacity and capability to be involved is often lacking

  • Care plans should include activities that will enhance the service user’s health and wellbeing such as attending community-based activities.

Suggestions for NCC to do:

  • Improve NCC process so that they are slicker and faster
  • Consider how providers could contribute to service user reviews
  • Run more NCC-led workshops, for providers to hear about new initiatives and get involved in collaboration opportunities both with NCC (e.g EHSS) and each other
  • Improve communication by sharing team structures to know “who is who” and what they do
  • Create opportunities for providers to meet by PCN to gain understanding of care available
  • Keep focused on sharing best practice and solutions on problems currently faced by the sector so that learning can be shared and replicated.

 Suggestions for providers to do:

  • Talk to service users about their social/community support needs to make the most of the help available outside the home
  • Get familiar with all the help and support available on the NCC website
  • Advertise job vacancies on the Norfolk Carer Careers website and consider how to make their companies attractive to prospective employees
  • Contact the e-Brokerage team if you would like to support implementation of e-Brokerage
  • Contact Norfolk Care Association if you would like to be part of the CEO interview process.

The session was closed by the Lead for Home Support who thanked everybody for coming along. The next steps for the Home Support Framework are as follows:

  • Issue the Invitation to Tender (ITT) for the new Framework by Wednesday 7 August 2019
  • Run a question and answer session on 28 August 2019 at the White Horse Inn in Trowse
  • Closing date for the tender is Monday 16 September 2019.