Question from: County Councillor Peter Lewington Subject: Care Services
Due to the risks associated with a care provider failing to provide the care and support promised and the risk of harm to residents arising from care provider unavailability especially at night times could the Portfolio Holder please advise how the Council proactively monitors care services in the community and in extra care facilities.
In addition, how does the Council address any actions arising in a timely manner to ensure the continued wellbeing of residents?
Could the Portfolio Holder also confirm that any renewal of existing care and support service contracts is not merely “rubber stamped” but that a robust tender process to consider suitably qualified and experienced providers is followed as part of a comprehensive stringent renewal process.
Response by the Cabinet Member:
1. How the Council proactively monitors care services in the community and in extra care facilities.
Powys County Council’s Contract and Commissioning Team carry out monitoring of Care Services, including extra care facilities, in a variety of ways, foremost with cyclic physical monitoring visits which are carried out with a dedicated Contract Monitoring Officer and an inspection document aligned to the Service Specification which forms part of the Contract. The inspection, amongst other things, includes meeting and interviewing staff and residents, sampling commissioned packages of care files, reviewing staff training and supervision records and consulting with Care Management to gather their views.
We also gather intelligence through the receipt of Poor Practice Service Standard Referral Forms submitted by professionals should they become aware of any such occurrences. This can result in a further focused inspection under what we call an SBAR visit (Situation, Background, Assessment and Recommendation) which also produces a report asking for actions to be completed.
The Contract Monitoring lead also hosts regular scheduled contract meetings and gathers various information (and further meetings as and when required, if there is an additional need) to ensure we are satisfied with the performance of any commissioned service. In addition, operational staff complete reviews of care packages and inform the Contract and Commissioning team of any issues. The commissioning team share and discuss concerns with the Care Inspectorate Wales and other professionals such as the Medication Team in Powys Teaching Health Board which can prompt further visits or discussions.
2. In addition how does the Council address any actions arising in a timely manner to ensure the continued wellbeing of residents?
If any commissioned service falls short of the standards we expect we have a process of Provider Performance where a provider is put into escalating concerns, which includes drafting a Corrective Action Plan which the Provider is expected to work through. Meetings are held with Multi-Disciplinary Teams to ensure any issues are addressed and actions are in line with the SMART format, (Specific Measurable Achievable Realistic and Time orientated).
3. Could the portfolio holder also confirm that any renewal of existing care and support service contracts is not merely “rubber stamped” but that a robust tender process to consider suitably qualified and experienced providers is followed as part of a comprehensive stringent renewal process.
Contracts for care and support services are awarded through open competitive tender exercises for the delivery of the service. Normally, tenders are open to bids from any potential provider organisations who possess the capacity and expertise to deliver the service. All bids received are assessed in accordance with the Council’s standing tender procedures and contract awards are made to the bidder who best demonstrates the capability to deliver the service as set out in the service specification. The tendering process is robust and rigorous.