Council to crack down on failing providers with new scheme

Bill Borrett. Picture: Matthew Usher.

Bill Borrett. Picture: Matthew Usher. - Credit: Matthew Usher

Norfolk County Council is to crackdown on poor care social care given by private providers.

There are 15 care homes in Norfolk rated as inadequate - which makes up 3pc of the total number of homes - and another 85 (18pc) have been told by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) they need to improve.

But now the council wants to up the standards of care and the organisation's powerful cabinet looks set to approve a raft of measures to do that when they meet on August 5.

Councillor Bill Borrett, cabinet member for adult social care, public health and prevention, said: "We rely on the private and voluntary sector to provide most of our care and it is crucial that standards are maintained and that their businesses are sustainable.

"The council continues to monitor the situation and is proposing a series of practical measures to support the care market."

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The council spends £328m a year of care for 17,000 adults, but issues including high staff turnover and a loss of 173 care home beds, 12 providers, and five home care providers over the last year has put pressure on the sector.

Plus papers released ahead of the cabinet meeting said there was "a clear trend in new build care homes being exclusively aimed at the self-funding market".

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The report said there had already been "a more robust approach of intolerance of ongoing poor ratings" put in place, where providers are expected to be able to achieve a good or outstanding CQC rating within six months of receiving a poor score.

Last year, the council approved above-inflation fee rises for care providers, to support their viability.

However the council had seen an increase in concerns reported to them about care homes in a six-month period in 2018/19 - some 488 compared to 258 in the same period the previous year.

The report said: "For the last two years there have regularly been between 14 to 20 care homes where the council has placed a restriction on all placements."

The council's new strategy will include a new proactive inspection programme, £8m of European funding - supported by a joint bid from Suffolk - to tackle recruitment issues, and setting up a care association for Norfolk.

The council also wants to increase the supply of supported living.

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