Norfolk County Council have provided the following communication for Home Support providers:
We are making significant changes to the Provider Portal that will improve your experience.
We are aware that providers in the home support market have experienced issues with the Portal, ranging from the speed at which new packages of care are authorised and published on the Portal to problems clearing payment lines at the end of each period and how we use the Conversations facility. The following outlines the work we have undertaken so far in response to these and other issues, and the improvements you will be seeing in the coming weeks and months.
We acknowledge that some of these issues require further attention. Senior management in Adult Social Services takes this situation very seriously and is dedicated to working closely with providers to better understand these issues and their solution. We are committed to producing an efficient and effective end-to-end process for the entire market, and are therefore encouraged by the benefits that providers have experienced since the Portal’s launch, from greater visibility of documentation to quicker payments once information has been submitted. However, we recognise that issues remain and we are redoubling our efforts to resolve them.
Conversations and Communicating with Brokerage Service
We understand there have been issues with the acknowledgement of Conversations within the Provider Portal. We have made some changes to the way we work recently, and hope you will see a notable improvement in speed of response and the explanations we provide when closing Conversations.
We are committed to using the Conversations facility within the Portal as your main route into our Brokerage Service. Along with providing a record of our interactions the information we share with each other here encourages transparency and electronic working. You should use Conversations to interact with the Brokerage Service, be it to raise termination notices or request a change to the level of a care package. Brokerage Service will take such requests forward with the appropriate social work teams that hold the authority to agree any changes.
Contracts and Commencing Care Packages
There have been delays in getting care package documents onto the Provider Portal, and in some cases ensuring they reflect current contracts. We have focused on guaranteeing that where service users are under framework provisions, the contracts and care package details accurately reflect this on the Portal. You should see this resolved very shortly.
If you notice a change to a contract on the Portal, this will have been either at the instruction of a social work team or because of an annual fee uplift. In the case of an operational team decision please contact Brokerage Service via a Conversation if you are unsure as to why there has been a change.
If you need to report any contracts that should be on the Portal but are not, please escalate your issue to the Brokerage Service. Our position remains that care commences once documentation has been received. If documentation remains outstanding, Brokerage Service will resolve this with social work teams. Please contact Brokerage Service through the Conversation facility in the Portal – or in urgent cases contact the Brokerage Service manager directly (email@example.com or 01603 729231)
New Accept/Reject Functionality
Until now all your packages of care have been in the ‘Published’ list within the Contract Documents area of the Portal. As such you have had to search through all of your packages to find which ones have recently been added to the Portal. We are improving the way you can see and filter packages of care in this area, as well as adding new functionality for accepting and rejecting packages. This will reduce the time it takes to find newly published contracts, as well as giving you the ability to leave a comment for our Brokerage Service on why you might need to reject a package.
You will now have the option to accept or reject these packages. If the Care Package Line Item shows correctly, and you are happy with it, you can accept the package by clicking on the ‘Accept’ button. Once you have accepted the document, the package of care will be available straight away for you to invoice on the Portal.
If you are unhappy with the document, for example it shows an incorrect rate or incorrect hours, you will now be able to reject the document by clicking the ‘Reject’ button. When rejecting a contract document you must specify a reason as to why. This way our Brokerage Service will know how to amend the document before republishing it to the Portal.
For us to roll out this change we will need to agree all packages of care that have previously been published on the Portal. This is an operation that we will perform, and as a result you will see all packages that are currently agreed move from the ‘Published’ list to the ‘Agreed’ list. Do not worry if you have existing packages of care that you believe are incorrect. You will be able to dispute these incorrect packages by contacting the Brokerage Service through the Conversations area of the portal and requesting that a contract be amended.
Clearing Payment Lines
In order to move between payment periods you need to ensure that you clear all of your payment lines by invoicing for them. If there are any unresolved payment lines you will not be able to move to the next period. If there is a payment line you do not recognise or understand you should contact Financial and Exchequer Services by calling 01603 495702 (option 1), and the team will resolve the issue to allow you to move forward.
Reporting Technical Issues
If you experience any performance issues with the Portal please report them via email to Ryan Blackwell (firstname.lastname@example.org) and we will respond to you within two working days. Please note however that the system is designed to automatically log you out after 10 minutes of inactively as an intended security feature.
If you have questions or concerns regarding any of these changes to the Provider Portal please contact Financial and Exchequer Services on 01603 495702 (option 1). If for any reason you are at risk of insolvency due to issues with the Portal please contact Steve Holland (email@example.com) immediately to discuss.
Norfolk County Council