A major shake-up in the way care is provided to people in their homes across Norfolk has been proposed.

Council bosses hope the changes will tackle the problem which has left the care market struggling to provide support to vulnerable people in some parts of the county.

Norfolk County Council is looking to change the way it commissions homecare, so that it buys the bulk of services in specific geographical areas from what it is describing as "prime providers".

That is to try to solve the problem which has seen the Conservative-controlled council facing challenges to meet its statutory duties in some parts of the county, such as North Norfolk, because recruitment of care workers is so difficult.

Council care bosses believe that, by selecting prime providers, who would need to provide 70pc of homecare in defined areas, it will give care companies certainty and security, so they will better invest in services and pay staff good rates.

The county council, which recently revealed plans to try to recruit more care workers from overseas, hopes the model will make recruitment easier.

Those providers would have to be rated as good or outstanding.

Eastern Daily Press: Norfolk County Council is planning a shake-up of how it commissions homecareNorfolk County Council is planning a shake-up of how it commissions homecare (Image: Press Association)


Under the council's new model, the other 30pc of homecare in each area would be provided by smaller providers.

Members of the council's people and communities select committee discussed the proposals at a recent meeting.

Eastern Daily Press: Green county councillor Paul NealeGreen county councillor Paul Neale (Image: Norwich City Council)

Green county councillor Paul Neale questioned whether it was risky to be concentrating on specific companies to provide the majority of homecare in an area.

He said if those companies did not perform, or had to close, it could cause difficulties.

Eastern Daily Press: James Bullion, Norfolk County Council's director of adult social careJames Bullion, Norfolk County Council's director of adult social care (Image: Norfolk County Council)

READ MORE: Care home standards in Norfolk spark county council concerns

But James Bullion, the council's director of adult social care, said: "It is not without its risks across the whole market.

"We will have a process of evaluating whether businesses will succeed and have a process of monitoring.

"We can't eliminate the risk, but that risk exists now, with smaller providers."