Millions of pounds added to bill to provide care in Norfolk

Millions of pounds has been added to the cost of paying for care in Norfolk. Pic:: Peter Byrne/PA Wi

Millions of pounds has been added to the cost of paying for care in Norfolk. Pic:: Peter Byrne/PA Wire - Credit: PA

Millions of pounds extra must be paid to companies which provided care on behalf of Norfolk County Council - after officers acknowledged the process which led to the prices which had been set was flawed.

Reserves at County Hall will have to be used to pay more than £2m more to independent care providers after a legal challenge led to a decision to set new prices in what the council pays.

Officers warned further savings will have to be found in the future because of the increase in what it will be paying care providers.

The council's adult social care committee yesterday greed to set new prices for what it pays to providers in the wake of a judicial review application and a review of the cost of care.

Independent care providers in Norfolk had joined together to bring legal action against the council through the Fair Price for Care, Fair Pay for Carers campaign.

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They said the council was paying independent providers too little, which prompted the council to reconsider their payments.

As a result of the challenge, the council has agreed to pay higher amounts, along with £25,000 of legal costs.

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And the extra costs mean a department, which has already got a £3m overspend, will need to find millions of pounds more savings.

Catherine Underwood, director of integrated Commissioning at Norfolk County Council told councillors: 'This is clearly a significant additional cost to the council.

'As we move forward, it's a recurrent cost on the social services budget and we will have to find savings elsewhere to ensure the budget is balanced.'

For 2015/16, just over £2m in backdated payments must be made to providers, the bulk of which will be drawn from the social care budget reserves.

A further £3.3m for payments in the current financial year will have to come from the council's corporate business risk reserve, while further savings will need to be found to make payments from 2017 to 2019.

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