By Debbie le Quesne

Setting the benchmark on fees

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Worcestershire County Council are doing it differently this year . . .

Last year the authority went through an exercise to understand what the cost of residential and nursing care were in the county.

They utilised a process designed by ADASS (Directors of Adult Social Services across the Country)

It was relatively simples and not too daunting for care providers who do not employ full time accountants. Homes were asked to put their own costs against a list of headings, highlighting outgoings such as food, insurance and training.

The complexities of establishing profit, however, were difficult as mortgages and rents differ between providers. Such a financial indicator is therefore unreliable data for getting a clear overall picture of provider costs.

Results of last year’s survey threw up a raft of varying figures and I’m not surprised. Inevitably, it didn’t help the council.

So this year sees a new approach. The council would now like to understand not what care providers pay, but what they should be paying to provide care which is compliant with CQC.

This means that some homes should submit higher figures and some lower. Higher figures are likely to come from homes which have been putting off reinvestment or non-essential repairs.

Lower figures are likely from homes that have many private residents who pay higher rates.

In my opinion, the ‘what they should be paying’ question is a tricky ask for members. Just how does one decide that a particular element of care, service or equipment constitutes something that is basic service or something much more within the compliance frame?

The association will be sending out details and the questionnaire.


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