United Kingdom Homecare Association
(UKHCA) is the professional association of home care providers from the independent,
voluntary, not-for-profit and statutory sectors.
UKHCA helps organisations that provide social care (also known as domiciliary care or homecare), which may include
nursing services, to people in their own homes, promoting high standards of care
and providing representation with national and regional policy-makers and regulators.
The Association represents over two-thousand members across the United Kingdom, in England,
Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.
If you are a member of the public and are looking for a homecare agency, please click here
UKHCA report - The Homecare Deficit: Funding of Older People's Homecare
UKHCA has launched a report into prices paid for older people's homecare by councils and trusts in the UK. The report, gathered by a freedom of information request, shows that only 28, out of the 203 authorities where an average price could be established, paid their independent and voluntary sector homecare providers fees at or above UKHCA's minimum price for homecare of £15.74 per hour. For the full report, which allows comparisons at a national, regional and local authority level, please see: www.ukhca.co.uk/rates, and for our press release, see UKHCA Press Release
Report author UKHCA Policy Director Colin Angel said: "There has been a considerable reaction to the report, including a welcome commitment by the Care Quality Commission to examine our findings as part of their annual State of Care report, due later this year. Although not full oversight of commissioning, it is useful the regulator in England now regards homecare pricing as part of the overall picture of social care. But 'The Homecare Deficit' raises a question that individual local authorities must address themselves. Despite their limited budget, what importance are they willing to place on adequate funding of the care of older and disabled people?"
Announcement posted on: 04 March 2015
Know someone who deserves an honour for health and social care work?
Know someone who deserves an honour for health and social care work? The Department of Health seeks nominations twice a year, starting in February and July, for a period of 5 to 6 weeks. The DH are calling for nominations of people who have made a difference in their field of work or community – people who have gone that extra mile. The deadline for submitting nominations for New Year Honours 2016 is 9 March 2015. Form and guidance to nominate someone who works in the health and care sector for a New Year or Queen's Birthday Honour are available from: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/new-years-honours-nomination-form-and-guidance It would be lovely to see some deserving people from the homecare sector recognised.
Announcement posted on: 23 February 2015
Skills for Care Workforce Development Fund 2014/15 (England only)
The deadline for submission of claims for Workforce Development Funding is 6 March 2015. Any units completed in 2015 will be eligible to claim under the 2015/16 project (UKHCA has submitted a bid and the outcome is expected in April). In order to claim your organisation must be a WDF partner. This can be achieved by completing and returning the declaration form on our website at: www.ukhca.co.uk/fundtra.aspx or Skills for Care's website. If you have any questions please contact Ailsa Blair 020 8661 8183 or email email@example.com. Further details of the fund are available on www.skillsforcare.org.uk/wdf or www.ukhca.co.uk - see Training & Funding.
Announcement posted on: 18 February 2015
CQC survey aimed at frontline care professionals
The CQC is holding a Health and Social Care Frontline Professional survey aimed at frontline care professionals working in health or social care and is keen to get as many responses as possible. The purpose is to measure the awareness, opinion, and experience that frontline care staff have of the Care Quality Commission.
Please could you encourage your staff to complete the survey, which should take 5 - 10 minutes to complete, using the link: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/ProfSurveyOnlineCommunity The survey will close on 2 March, and CQC will report in April, along with the results of the survey of care providers. Previous years’ results are at: http://www.cqc.org.uk/content/feedback-and-surveys and any questions should be directed to CQC at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Announcement posted on: 16 February 2015
CQC issues guidance on Fundamental Standards and Enforcement Policy
The Care Quality Commission have issued guidance on meeting the Fundamental Standards and how they will use their enforcement powers when regulating health and social care providers in England. This guidance will replace current 'Guidance about compliance, Essential standards of quality and safety' from 1 April 2015. The final version of the guidance will be published at the end of March, with updated versions of CQC’s provider handbooks to ensure they reflect changes coming into effect on 1 April 2015. CQC press release.
Announcement posted on: 13 February 2015
Estimation of minimum wage underpayment in social care services
Responding to interim estimations of underpayment of the National Minimum Wage in the social care sector by the Resolution Foundation, UKHCA notes that the front-line social care workforce undertakes exceptionally valuable work and operates in an increasingly underfunded care system. The obligation to pay minimum wage rests with employers, who must comply with the law as enforced by HMRC. However, residential and homecare services operate in a market with dominant purchasers, largely local councils, who face unprecedented spending constraints. While the Resolution Foundation's estimates of the size of underpayment to affected workers are significantly higher than those found in practice by HMRC, their calculations add to growing concerns over a sector struggling to offer appropriate terms and conditions to front-line workers. We repeat our calls for commissioners to take the actual costs of care services into account when letting contracts to the independent and voluntary sector, and for government to ensure independent oversight of the practices of social care commissioners. Full UKHCA press release.
Announcement posted on: 09 February 2015
CQC asks for views on draft Market Oversight proposals
The Care Quality Commission has published draft guidance for adult social care providers in England on how its Market Oversight regime will operate when it starts in April. The purpose of the scheme is to provide early warning where a "difficult-to-replace" residential or domiciliary care provider might run into financial difficulty, and to support continuity of care for the people using the service.
UKHCA has helped CQC design the scheme, with other representative groups and stakeholders. UKHCA's Policy Director, Colin Angel, said: "Government has given CQC additional powers in the event of a significant market failure. Designing a robust regime to protect the public, and which does not precipitate the very failure it seeks to guard against, is extremely important, a point we have made strongly to CQC.
UKHCA's response to CQC's consultation. The consultation is now closed. There is a quick guide as well as the full document. Final guidance is expected by early April.
More on "CQC asks for views on draft Market Oversight proposals"
Announcement posted on: 30 January 2015
Labour puts care at home at the centre of plans for health and social care
Ed Miliband and Andy Burnham outlined their plans for the NHS and social care today, in speeches that launched a 10-year plan for health and social care. The plan, which is a key plank of Labour's election platform, places care at home at the centre of proposals to "reset" the NHS for the 21st century. UKHCA Policy and Campaigns Director Colin Angel welcomed plans to expand the homecare workforce and provide more time to care for people's needs, but warned that "recruiting additional workers is of limited long-term value unless Government address the serious underfunding of homecare services. Whether councils or the NHS commission these services, they must not do so at rates which create inadequate terms and conditions for essential members of the workforce and severely affect worker retention." UKHCA press quote, given in advance of the above announcement.
Announcement posted on: 27 January 2015
Care and Support & You – Care Act public information campaign free resources now available
The Department of Health and Public Health England, have developed a 'Care and Support & You' campaign to raise awareness of the Care Act reforms being introduced from April 2015. The campaign resources are now available free to help partner organisations, including care providers, to communicate the reforms simply and effectively to people who use services and their families. The campaign includes copy, creative, and briefing documents and the resources can be found here:
Announcement posted on: 26 January 2015
Care workers need better pay and conditions
The Resolution Foundation has written an interesting piece on its current research for the Guardian, suggesting that social care's problems will only be solved in the long term if care workers receive better pay and conditions: www.theguardian.com/social-care-network/2015/jan/20/care-workers-better-pay-conditions. UKHCA has been involved in advising the Resolution Foundation on their research. Policy Director Colin Angel commented: "Establishing the real cost of social care is fundamentally important, so that Government understands the real extent of the challenges they must address to keep an effective social care system. UKHCA have worked with Resolution Foundation to inform the methodology of this investigation, and highlight the specific issues for the homecare sector. We look forward to the completion of this report during the year."
Announcement posted on: 21 January 2015
January edition of Homecarer available for members
In this issue: We report on our successful England Conference with a special photo feature; UKHCA Chief Executive Bridget Warr says social care must be an election priority; Anthony Collins Solicitors LLP discuss handing back business and launch ‘Top Tips on Fee Negotiations’; UKHCA Policy Director Colin Angel considers what the Care Act 2014 means for providers; we challenge CQC’s plans to increase registration fees by 9% from April 2015; Towergate Insurance describe their provider insurance scheme; Dominic Carter discusses social services legislation and local government in Wales; we describe a new App for care staff in Northern Ireland, and launch our New Year Sale of the UKHCA Homecare Workers' Handbook. Download Homecarer.
Announcement posted on: 09 January 2015
Homecare providers hailed as 'outstanding'
Congratulations to Home Instead Senior Care (West Lancashire and Chorley), who are UKHCA members, and Domiciliary Care East Devon (Exeter). These two homecare organisations are among the first three adult social care providers to be judged by the Care Quality Commission as ‘outstanding’ under the Commission’s new quality rating system. UKHCA Chief Executive Bridget Warr said:
“We are delighted that homecare providers have been recognised for their excellence and pay tribute to the many good organisations out there who provide high quality homecare every day, supporting people to live independently at home.
"UKHCA supported the return of quality ratings because they publicly acknowledge the quality of homecare available in England today. CQC’s ‘outstanding’ rating is extremely challenging, but we look forward to many more providers achieving this standard as quality ratings are rolled out.”
UKHCA press release.
Announcement posted on: 07 January 2015
Using surveillance - new CQC information for providers
The Care Quality Commission has published information for providers on using surveillance to monitor services which looks at using surveillance lawfully, obtaining consent, protecting privacy and a range of other issues, including meeting regulatory requirements. While much of the information is of greater concern to care home providers, the information does consider the use of CCTV in people's own homes for monitoring and safety purposes, and mental capacity issues. The information is aimed at regulated providers in England, but may be of interest to providers in other parts of the UK. Further information is anticipated in January 2015 for service users and their families.
Announcement posted on: 16 December 2014
Keep ahead of severe weather warnings
With bad weather affecting large parts of the UK, members will want to stay up-to-date with information on weather conditions in their area. The Met Office issues national and regional severe weather warnings at: http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/public/weather/warnings/#?tab=map and also gives advice on preparing for bad weather. You can sign up to receive regional weather alerts at: https://service.govdelivery.com/accounts/UKMETOFFICE/subscriber/new
The BBC weather webpage is also a good source of information: http://www.bbc.co.uk/weather/
Announcement posted on: 08 December 2014
Health and adult social care must embrace complaints to improve services
UKHCA supports the attention to the importance of and effective use of complaints issued today (8th December) by the Care Quality Commission (CQC). UKHCA’s policy and campaigns director, Colin Angel, said: “Well-run organisations embrace comments and complaints as an opportunity for continuous improvement, and work hard to create a culture where people who use their services - and the staff they employ - believe they can raise concerns which will be listened to and acted upon fairly and positively.”
Angel welcomed CQC’s commitment to providing a more comprehensive view of complaints handling: “As a professional association we are keen to share learning about how organisations can improve the experience of the people who use services.”
CQC press release: Health and adult social care must embrace complaints to improve services
Announcement posted on: 08 December 2014
Reports reveal impact of council budget cuts on services
Two reports by the National Audit Office have revealed the effect of council budget cuts on services in England. Government has reduced funding to local authorities by 37% in real terms between 2010-11 and 2015-16. The reports conclude that although councils are trying to protect social care by making efficiency savings, there have been reductions in services, with councils that have suffered the largest budget cuts tending to make the greatest reductions in services. Homecare shows up as suffering substantial cuts, and day care even worse, although the report does comment that ".. the change in the volume of activity does not necessarily imply any worsening in the quality of provision or outcomes for service users.”
UKHCA Senior Campaigns Officer Duncan White said: “Local authorities have undertaken extensive reductions in expenditure, with service-users and homecare services being a very visible casualty. Further reductions in funding are planned for the next two to four financial years, with the 2015 general election the deciding factor in which way economic policy will evolve. But whatever the hue of the next government, the fundamental issue of further constraints on public spending will not change, with local authorities, service-users and homecare providers again in the frontline.”
NAO report: Financial sustainability of local authorities 2014 Companion NAO report: The Impact of Funding Reductions on Local Authorities
Announcement posted on: 19 November 2014
New regulated activities regulations made
The Health and Social Care Act 2008 (Regulated Activities) Regulations 2014 have been made, laying down new fit and proper person requirements and imposing a duty of candour on health bodies in England from 27 November 2014. They also apply fundamental standards to replace the current 16 essential standards from April 2015 for both health and social care regulated providers in England. It is expected the fit and proper person requirements and duty of candour will be extended to regulated social care providers from April 2015.
Announcement posted on: 17 November 2014
Living Wage and the homecare sector
United Kingdom Homecare Association welcomes the work to promote the Living Wage and the London Living Wage and improve low wages in the UK. Recognising the essential services that homecare workers deliver to people in vulnerable situations is vital, and has a positive impact on recruitment and retention of highly dedicated, skilled and caring individuals in our sector. We congratulate all those employers who strive to meet and exceed the prevailing Living Wage rates and we acknowledge the commitment of a growing number of councils working with care providers to improve the terms and conditions of local workers. However, cost-cutting measures by many councils continue to place extreme pressure on homecare providers - see our press release in response to Living Wage Week, which links to our revised Minimum Price for Care paper.
Announcement posted on: 03 November 2014
Commissioning guidance should provide strong framework for peer review
Last week's NCAS Conference saw the launch of new commissioning guidance produced by the University of Birmingham, and commissioned by ADASS and the Local Government Association. UKHCA Policy Director, Colin Angel, who was involved in developing the guidance with the Commissioning Standards Project, commented:
"Commissioning for Better Outcomes: A Route Map" provides a strong framework for councils to assess their performance during peer review - a process which should include a range of stakeholders, including providers. UKHCA welcomes the cross-sector working that has produced these standards as the starting point for better engagement on commissioning."
According to the LGA, 'the prototype document will be piloted by a small number of local authorities between now and the end of March and will shape and inform a new offer within the LGA peer challenge programme which will become available in April 2015'. - See: http://www.local.gov.uk/web/guest/care-support-reform/-/journal_content/56/10180/6686003/ARTICLE#sthash.SYD4ShOA.dpuf
Announcement posted on: 31 October 2014
Local authority guidance and regulations on Part 1 of Care Act published amid concerns
The Department of Health has published final versions of regulations and statutory guidance for the parts of the Care Act 2014 that come into effect from April 2015, following an extensive consultation this summer. The guidance arguably tightens the national minimum eligibility threshold for social care in England. A UKHCA representative said: “We are pleased to see that the guidance makes it clear ‘very short homecare visits are not normally appropriate’. We have campaigned for many years on this issue, and it is good, at last, to see the issue formally recognised. However, we remain concerned about the overall funding of social care, and whether people will qualify for the care they need. If councils are insufficiently resourced this would substantially undermine the aims of the Care Act reforms.”
Announcement posted on: 28 October 2014
CQC issues provider handbooks on new ratings system
The Care Quality Commission (CQC) has issued its provider handbooks for community care (which includes homecare) and residential care on 9 October 2014. These are intended to help care providers understand how they will be assessed and rated from now on, as the CQC rolls out its new system to regulate, inspect and rate adult social care in England. UKHCA Policy and Campaigns Director Colin Angel said:
"The quality of social care services must be at the heart of everything social care providers do. CQC are to be commended for the wide-ranging engagement with stakeholders across users, providers and commissioners of social care to develop the new regime. We're pleased to welcome back a system of ratings so the public can make their own choices on care. These were highly valued by social care providers and offer positive recognition for excellence.
"As with any new system, there will be a period of transition, but the new materials produced by CQC should help providers understand and demonstrate what is expected of them. While strongly supportive of the new regime and the considerable efforts made to deliver on-time, we are concerned about the speed of development and whether CQC has yet been able to imbed training with its front-line inspectors in a way which will avoid inconsistent judgements being made about services."
The handbooks are available at: www.cqc.org.uk/content/adult-social-care
Announcement posted on: 09 October 2014
UKHCA’s Minimum Price for Homecare, updated for 2014-15 National Minimum Wage
The National Minimum Wage increases today, Wednesday 1st October 2014. UKHCA publishes Version 2.0 of our Minimum Price for Homecare, which relates to the minimum price that we believe homecare providers should receive from local-authorities and the NHS in order for providers to comply with the National Minimum Wage, and all other legal obligations and running a sustainable service.
This briefing provides all the assumptions used to reach an all-inclusive minimum price of £15.74/hour, and is available from www.ukhca.co.uk/downloads.aspx?ID=434. In addition to the increases in National Minimum Wage, the revised price has used an improved method of calculating allowances for workers’ statutory holiday pay.
Details of the new National Minimum Wage can be found at www.gov.uk/national-minimum-wage-rates. UKHCA publishes a National Minimum Wage Toolkit to help UKHCA’s member organisations interpret the National Minimum Wage Regulations for the complex rostering patterns frequently necessary in homecare services, and offers suggestions on how employers can check their compliance with the Minimum Wage. The Toolkit is available from www.ukhca.co.uk/downloads.aspx?ID=422.
UKHCA encourages all councils and statutory sector purchasers to compare the rates they pay for homecare services against UKHCA’s minimum price and enter into open and transparent costing exercises with their local providers. UKHCA’s Costing Model is also available to assist calculating the actual cost of care in a local area and is available from www.ukhca.co.uk/CostingModel. UKHCA recommends that homecare providers to bring UKHCA’s Minimum Price for Homecare to the attention of their local authority and clinical commissioning groups as an item for formal discussion.
A revised version of our Minimum Price for Homecare will be published after the Living Wage and London Living Wage are announced on Monday 3rd November 2014.
Download UKHCA’s Minimum Price for Homecare
Announcement posted on: 01 October 2014