A sector leader has called for an overhaul of the social care commissioning system in England to avoid a “dangerous race to the bottom”.
Ravi Bains, who founded Grosvenor Health and Social Care and the Contollo Care Group, said a new commissioning system is urgently needed to ensure contracts are awarded on the basis of the quality of care provided, with careful consideration paid to the concept of best value beyond price.
Outlining his vision for the social care system, Bains said that under a new commissioning system, social care contracts would not be awarded on lowest cost, but on the provider’s ability to sustainably provide excellent care, with the potential of linking contracts to quality indicators such as CQC ratings and customer feedback.
Under the current system, Bains has witnessed a national care provider with a user satisfaction rating of 97% lose a major contract to a company with a much lower user satisfaction rating. The deciding factor was a 10p difference in the hourly rate in their service proposals.
The entrepreneur argues awarding contracts on this basis will end up increasing costs for the authority in question, as services with a lower CQC score are likely to require more monitoring.
Commenting on his vision for social care commissioning reform, Bains said: “When it comes to social care commissioning, a one size fits all approach simply will not work. An adequately funded, uniform approach to commissioning must be put in place to avoid a dangerous race to the bottom.
“A social care commissioning framework of national minimum standards that is led by experts who live and breathe social care will be transformative to our society. We need to start asking big questions of what we want health and social care to look like for our loved ones now and in the future.
“The time is now for a multi-agency, multi-faceted national approach to commissioning where quality comes first.”