The Social Care Conference 2023
Our key takeaways
On the 7th of June, Camille, MD of Abbots Care and the team attended The Social Care conference hosted by LaingBuisson events. The day commenced with insightful keynote speeches that delved into the critical factors shaping the social care sector, providing an overview of the current state of social care and highlighting actionable steps that we, as service providers, can take to drive meaningful change within the industry.
ADASS (Association of directors of adult social care services) opened the day discussing the unmet needs of the industry, pinpointing how social care white papers are there but not utilised. They discussed how local authority recruitment has dropped and the ongoing trouble with capacity for providers, focusing on the constant flow of returning contracts due to this. We learned that 64% of councils reported providers handing back contracts or closing with huge impacts for a growing number of people.
The day progressed and William Laing, driving force behind LaingBuisson, delved into social care market research – explaining the constant and well-known battle between home care and care homes, addressing where data and funding will meet. Laing also discussed topics such as the fair cost of care, as well as LaingBuisson’s new benchmarking initiative that seeks to build a fair price of care.
The key notes for the home care sector were delivered and panel sessions surrounding home care began.
Panel 1 - Building the care workforce for the future - can we follow through on the social care white paper commitment?
The care industry has seen a huge influx of international recruits join UK providers and this was a key topic of discussion. Panellists debated the permanency of international recruitment and whether it will be a future solution for the UK’s care industry.
As the discussions progressed, the topic of pursuing a career in care emerged, a subject known to spark interesting debates due to varying perspectives between providers and the government, as evidenced during the panel. Consensus was reached on the fact that the care industry offers immense opportunities for meaningful work and career development. However, challenges such as inadequate funding, lack of flexibility resulting from the nature of the work, and unappealing salaries were acknowledged.
The question on everyone’s lips was what can we do to make the industry more appealing?
Panel 2 - Discussing the evolving role of local authority and statutory body-commissioned home care with Dr Jane Townson OBE
Our Managing Director, Camille sat on the panel to discuss the evolving role of local authority and commissioned home care alongside other care providers.
Camille discussed all things Abbots Care, explaining the structure of the business and on topic explaining 80% of contracts are state contracts today which is important to remember when discussing the evolution of homecare and the modernisation of contracted care. Camille brought specific attention to how local authorities/commissioners are beginning to move away from the block contract to solely framework which can be problematic for smaller providers.
She explained that “we have noticed with the newer framework of care being rolled out, providers’ rounds are becoming unutilised, and capacity is being wasted, some care staff can be waiting between calls which is not efficient for anyone’s workforce. We need to work together between providers and commissioners to make sure we have a good sustainable market”.
4,833 people were impacted by provider closer cessation of trading or contract hand backs from July-October 2022.- ADASS 2022.
Camille was then asked by Dr Jane Townson OBE if there had been any progress in evolving the role of local authority and her reply stated:
“To be honest Jane, there seems to be a number of meetings and little outcomes! We’ve undertaken many projects over the years, and we are always willing to give things a go if it helps our industry. And we have a seat at the table where we are always trying to say our piece to push the industry that bit further but there doesn’t seem to be any solid movement yet. However, I do believe we should stay positive as we do have the seat and we want to keep going.”.
Other topics covered care response services and how they play a big part in caring for the elderly community, digital care records as a priority for local authorities and sensors in care homes.
It is clear to see that there must be a partnership change for providers and commissioners but when will we see this change?
After a day of valuable insights, engaging conversations and networking, the event concluded with a celebratory drink and attendees left with lots of notes to reflect upon. Positivity echoed around the room and there was a real buzz for all things home care. The day left everyone thinking, what are the next steps to push social care further and what can we do to help?
Let’s keep watching…
“The Care staff that are supporting my Mum through her care needs are extremely lovely and supportive. Our Mum has cancer and she is receiving the most excellent and caring support from all Staff. We would just like to say a huge thank you as we know that there is more difficult times ahead for us as a family. ”
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