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Changes to home care service to be considered by Cabinet

Cabinet will next week consider how to deliver the domiciliary home care service in the future. Officer recommendations to Cabinet include proposals to externally commission long-term home care from October 2024, aimed at securing the future resilience and sustainability of the service without reducing the level of care provided. 

There are two well-established approaches to providing domiciliary home care services in Rhondda Cynon Taf – reablement and intermediate care, and long-term home care. The Council’s ‘Support@Home’ Service currently delivers all reablement and intermediate care, but a much smaller proportion of long-term home care (around 10%) – with the majority already commissioned from external providers.

The report to be considered by Cabinet at the meeting on Monday, October 23, proposes the Council continues to deliver all reablement and intermediate care through its ‘Support@Home’ Service and, from October 2024, commissions all long-term home care from external home care providers, as part of a required retender process.

County Borough Councillor Gareth Caple, Cabinet Member for Health & Social Care, said: “These officer proposals seek to respond to increasing demand for long-term home care, and address issues of capacity experienced by all providers. This revised approach aims to achieve a sustainable model that in no way reduces the availability of the service – rather, it would enable long-term commissioning arrangements to be improved, enhancing the experience of service users and home care workers.

“Through this new approach, the Council would continue to support people to be as independent as possible by continuing to provide an in-house reablement and intermediate care service.

“It’s important to note that the Council delivers just a small proportion of the long-term home care provision in Rhondda Cynon Taf, and the change being considered would see the remaining 10% transfer to external providers. Reablement and intermediate care services through the Council’s ‘Support@Home’ Service would continue to be provided by the Council.

“Through these plans, the Council would ensure that any new commissioned service is delivered on the basis of geographical zones. This would improve the overall efficiency of the service, helping staff members who currently operate across wider geographical areas that require longer travel times between calls.

“The proposals would allow a more coordinated approach that reduces staff travel time – increasing the time spent providing care in people’s homes and having a positive impact on staff recruitment and retention.”

Under the proposals, the care package for all service users would be maintained, while eligible staff employed by the Council’s ‘Support@Home’ Service to provide long-term home care would transfer to the new service provider – which would award a new contract under TUPE arrangements. This ensures continuity of staff support for service users, and job security for staff members with the terms and conditions of their current contracts of employment protected going forward, along with membership of the Local Government Pension Scheme

At the Cabinet meeting on October 23, Members could choose to agree the proposals and start the retendering process for the long-term home care service. Cabinet could also agree to enable the Council’s Director of Social Services to award the contract following completion of the process.

If agreed, all services users in receipt of long-term home care will be informed of these decisions. Initial discussions have taken place with the recognised trade unions on this matter and, subject to any decision by Cabinet, these discussions will continue.

Posted on 12/10/2023