Hull City Council has outlined plans to transform the way home care is commissioned and delivered in the region.
The plans, published in a recent report, will see a shift away from commissioning based on a series of defined tasks, delivered in a prescribed time, and an end to zero hour contracts.
The council had previously paid providers by the minute, but this meant that the majority of services in the area were forced to employ carers on zero hour contracts, resulting in problems with recruitment and retention.
This then led to home care providers struggling to meet the capacity required by the council.
However, during the initial COVID-19 outbreak, this system was suspended and replaced with block payments based on upon planned activity.
In the report, council leaders acknowledged the problems with the “minute by minute model” and said the new system has “proven successful in stabilising the supply market” and improving recruitment and retention of care staff.
It is therefore proposed that the new contracts continue to be paid on a planned time payment basis, calculated on planned activity, with levels reviewed quarterly to reflect fluctuating demand for services.
The council also plans to end its “city-wide approach” to commissioning and award new contracts that are set on a geographic basis. This means that each provider will concentrate their activity to a local area.
Council leaders said this will reduce travel time and make the planning of carer rotas “much easier”. It also means that carers can build up their local knowledge and build more effective relationships with clients and families, the report said.
Initial contacts will be awarded for five years, with the option to extend for a further two periods of 12 months each.
Commenting on the plans, Councillor Gwen Lunn, portfolio holder for adult services at Hull City Council, said: “Our priority is to ensure we can provide quality support at a consistent level to our vulnerable residents in their own homes, and this is what this report sets out.
“The wellbeing service will work towards a model which is flexible towards people’s needs. It will also stabilise the fragile service provider market with a long-term contract that will ensure they are able to provide improved terms and conditions for this valuable workforce.
“It is hoped this move will keep care jobs locally, so that local people care for the people locally and provide a better care for some of the most vulnerable people in our society.”