The quality of care for disabled people, older people and others with care needs may be at risk, according to new evidence gathered by the Coalition of Care and Support Providers in Scotland (CCPS), because many of the rates paid for care by local authorities are too low to support a quality service.
CCPS collected information about hourly rates by issuing a Freedom of Information request to all Scottish local authorities, seeking disclosure of the rates paid for care and support to external providers, and the equivalent cost of council in-house services.
According to the returns submitted, at least 50 care services throughout Scotland are being funded by councils at a rate of less than £10 per hour, which CCPS contends is inadequate to cover all the costs necessary to deliver complex care successfully: these costs include staff salaries and related employer costs; training, qualifications and workforce development; regulatory and compliance fees; and organisational overheads.
The highest costs were generally found to relate to council’s own in-house care services, with several of these costing up to 100% more than the most expensive externally-provided service of the same type.
“These findings bear out the conclusions and recommendations published earlier this year by Audit Scotland, in its examination of social care commissioning,” said Annie Gunner Logan, CCPS Director. “Audit Scotland reported that councils do not always have a full understanding of how much social care services cost; it also concluded that councils can focus too much on reducing costs when procuring services, and give insufficient regard to the range and quality of services and their impact on individuals. This Freedom of Information exercise reinforces those concerns, and shows that councils do not always have clear and consistent data about the cost of care readily available to inform their decision-making.”
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