Question from: County Councillor Matthew Dorrance Subject: Care Forum Wales Cheapskate Awards
The Care Forum Wales, which represents over 400 social care providers across Wales, has just published its ‘Cheapskate Awards’ for Councils that pay the lowest care home fees in Wales.
Powys Council comes bottom of the league table, meaning it pays the lowest weekly fee per person in a care home.
Is this award one that the Conservative and Independent-run Council is proud to win or will it take action to properly fund vulnerable people in our care homes?
Response by the Portfolio Holder:
It’s very disappointing that Care Forum Wales saw fit to produce this league table as there are a number of realities which aren’t reflected in Care Forum Wales’ figures.
Powys County Council undertook an Open Book exercise with most care home providers in 2017 and as a result agreed rates which all providers agreed with. This exercise was based on verifiable data for all aspects of care home costs, provided by the participating homes.
Many of the more rural councils do not compare well in their table. It’s well known that in cities and larger towns you tend to have larger homes with a larger number of potential customers, than those which are typically available in our smaller communities. This will always have an impact on price.
Powys County Council has seen massive cuts to its budget over the last decade. This has an impact on how much money the council has been able to afford to spend on its services, including social care.
It is worth noting that for some time now care home providers have unilaterally increased their prices by in some cases 20% or more on the 2017 base, which it would appear has not been reflected in the assessment, resulting in this league table. Our team has to sit down with care homes and negotiate prices for care which provide a quality service to the individual but are also affordable, using tax payers’ money.
We acknowledge that Care Homes like PCC are under financial pressure but we are proud of the work done by the Care Homes and PCC officers; they deliver value for money, we have low numbers of concerns about the quality of services in Powys and we have low number of provider failures in care homes, our fee strategy is fair and robust.
Like many other authorities across not only Wales but in the whole of the UK, Powys has been put into a very difficult position due to spending cuts since 2010 with an in-depth review of social care funding is still outstanding. We support the notion of a national conversation with governments and the industry, however a crude table like this doesn’t really help anyone.