The Minister of Care has indicated that the long-awaited health and care Bill will lead to an improvement in the way home care is commissioned in England.
Leaders in the sector have repeatedly lobbied for an end to commissioning based on time and task, which often leads to providers being forced to employ carers on zero hour contracts or pay them below the minimum wage, resulting in problems with recruitment and retention.
This can then lead to home care providers struggling to meet the capacity required by their local council.
Speaking in the House of Commons, Labour MP Alex Sobel said: “We all know that commissioning in social care is broken. The price paid for care is too low, the wages paid to carers are too small and there is a lack of training and professional development for carers.
“I would like the Minister to address the issue of home care being commissioned by the minute—it is the only publicly funded service commissioned or measured by time. Will the social care plans address that? She could do worse than look at the GMB’s ethical care commissioning charter to see a way forward.”
Minister of Care Helen Whately replied: “There is some really interesting and important work has been done on commissioning, looking at the outcomes of care rather than being so focused on inputs, which sometimes leads to the situation described by the honourable member.
“One of the opportunities of the oversight system that we propose through the health and care Bill is that it will shine a light on the different ways in which local authorities commission care and give more visibility to what works. Those ways of commissioning that do not lead to such good outcomes can therefore learn from others. We look forward to seeing an improvement in how care is commissioned and, therefore, the care that people receive.”