New drive aims to raise standards of care in Norfolk, with increased inspections of homes
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A drive is to be launched to get at least 85pc of Norfolk care providers rated as good or better - and to bring down the costs of the council's own arms-length care company.
At the moment, the Care Quality Comission rates 75pc of care providers, such as those which run care homes and give support in people's own homes, as good or better.
But Norfolk County Council, which spends about £320m a year to buy adult social care from more than 700 care providers, wants to raise standards further, through the creation of a dedicated inspection team.
The council acknowledges that the rate of improvement has slowed and that its quality assurance team has been essentially operating in 'firefighting mode'.
Despite the council needing to deliver £27m in savings - and likely to need to dip into reserves by £400,000 more than had been budgeted for - councillors will next week be asked to agree to do more to increase standards.
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They say they need to set up a dedicated inspection team to start a 'proactive inspection regime' focusing on the 100 or so providers which are struggling to maintain good quality.
They will initially focus on 40 care homes which are at highest risk of poor ratings.
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Bill Borrett, chairman of the adult social care committee, said: 'I want to see the 85pc target reached as soon as possible, The Care Act places a duty on councils to shape their local care market, so that it meets people's needs.
'That's why Norfolk County Council is determined to work closely with care providers to continue to raise standards, so that we can aim to get 100pc of care providers rated as good or better.'
It will be discussed when the adult social care committee meets next week.
The committee will also discuss a review of the council's £33.5m contract with NorseCare, the council's own arms-length company, which is the largest provider of residential and housing with care services in Norfolk.
There have long been complaints from other care providers about rates NorseCare get, compared to private providers. The council wants to give NorseCare five years to reach contractual terms comparable to the rest of the market.