Ensuring a diverse, vibrant, sustainable and quality market for Adult Social Care is a key duty for all local authorities under market shaping requirements of the Care Act 2014.
A Market Position Statement supports local authorities in meeting this responsibility offering information to current and prospective providers of care services about the state of local supply and demand for care services.
Section 4.56 of the statutory guidance suggests that the local authority’s duties in relation to market shaping can best be met through the development of a market position statement to effectively engage and communicate with providers of the challenges facing Adult Social Care and some of the key areas for development, which in turn supports effective commissioning.
· The service had identified the need for clearer messaging to the market about future adult social care through the Market Position Statement (MPS).
· The Institute of Public Care were part of the development programme and the MPS took form in a high-level strategic document that outlined the vision for social care, the needs the service was trying to address, the provision currently in place, the provision required and the messaging to care providers.
· This document was aligned to the overall vision of Adult Social Care.
· This MPS approach aligns with the Care Act 2014’s desired ‘vibrant and sustainable care market’ for those who are socially cared for, including those who self-fund part their care.
· The effectiveness of the MPS would be measured by how well it covers the whole adult population of BCP, how it frames care positively, how it encourages greater independence and less residential care, how it continues a dialogue to build trust, openness and confidence between commissioners and providers.
· Work on the MPS had involved the Sector Leadership Group, care providers across the wider Dorset area and the voluntary sector.
Key messages within the MPS include but are not limited to:
· The enabling of people to live well, safely and independently by harnessing the strengths of the community.
· Focusing more on early intervention and prevention with an asset-based community development approach.
· To provide more information, advice and guidance on services that are available to people.
· Increasing the emphasis on outcome focused services.
· Services need to meet the need of aging population but also not to lose sight of adults requiring employment.
· Demand for care homes will rise but other forms of support need to be offered.
The Committee asked several questions following the report. Answers were provided by the Director of Commissioning for People. The questions and responses were:
· Upon reference to page 29 of the report and a highlighting of the 551 adults that use indirect payments, it was heard that this number concerns those who receive BCP-funded packages of care. Data on the self-funders had not be made available yet.
· It was highlighted that BCP Council spend more on care for older people than national average for England. Members were informed that this figure was dictated by the market and that costs of placements for residential care was driven up to above the national average, with a price increase of 5-10% per year. The cost of living as well as rental/housing prices were high in BCP and the Council is led by the market rather than the market being led by the Council.
· A member referred to the increase in annual costs for adult social care, up to the year 2023. With an increase from £4.368 million up to £10.8 million in 2023 the Committee were told that in broad terms, a range of actions were to be taken and that one of the key elements of this was managing the demand for care.
· The Committee heard that BCP were below the national average for the number of people with a mental health problem who are living independently. Members were informed that an annual collection of data is published around September time each year on this topic, and this had been targeted as an area for improvement in the wider adult social care strategy going forward.
· On Home First Funding, the Committee were told that the funding, which was introduced at the start of the Covid pandemic, was short term funding that supported people in being quickly discharged from hospital and put on a recovery pathway to go home. This funding was initially given for 6 weeks but now had been reduced to 4 weeks. The national cap on this funding was set to run until September and there had been no word of funding beyond that. The adult social care system is looking at how to maintain the home first approach by utilising primary funding (existing BCP Council funding) as well as any support that comes out of the Government’s review into adult social care.
· A member commented that the new digital format of many services and information could be a barrier to some users. Members were reassured that resources such as GP surgery libraries, fact sheets, leaflets were all still accessible. Isolation and loneliness were prevalent issues so it was important to always maintain and increase community contact.
· The matter of potential sites for community accommodation was raised by a member and the Committee were informed that this Extra Care Housing Strategy sought to address this issue. Suitability of site is of high importance given some of the specialist needs of service users. Furthermore, developments in this area would be looked at in the local plan.
· The Committee were told that there were cases where people may have placed themselves into a care setting sooner than they necessarily needed to. These users were self-funding and had often not considered other options to residential care. However, the pandemic had reduced the number of self-funders going into social care.
· A member asked if the name ‘informal or unpaid’ carers could be altered to read ‘valued or registered’ carers. Feedback to this terminology would been given to the service leads.
RESOLVED that the Committee noted the report.