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
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
Burstow Commission on Homecare Workforce
A radical rethink on the commissioning of services for people receiving homecare and the terms and conditions of the homecare workforce is urgently needed, says United Kingdom Homecare Association as it welcomes the publication of the Burstow Commission’s report “Key to Care” on the future of the homecare workforce, which sought the views of a wide range of stakeholders, including UKHCA. UKHCA’s Policy Director, Colin Angel, said:
“Older and disabled people deserve excellent services from a workforce which is suitably trained, committed and adequately rewarded for the increasingly complex care required to be delivered at home. Homecare workers are our greatest asset and their services already support demands on a struggling health service. However, inappropriate commissioning by local councils is self-defeating and carries risks of rushed, undignified services which lack continuity by focussing on limited time for care and a constant pressure to reduce providers’ fees. It is essential that local councils reflect on the Burstow Commission’s findings to move away from ‘time and task’ commissioning and refocus on purchasing effective outcomes for individuals and also value the homecare workforce appropriately.”
UKHCA full press release. BBC News online.
Announcement posted on: 02 December 2014
Community provision should be "ramped up" to support people with learning disabilities
A report by Sir Stephen Bubb, for NHS England, has called for serious shortcomings to be addressed in the support of people with learning disabilities and/or autism. He said: "We urge immediate action, to close all Winterbourne-style institutions and ramp up community provision." The Bubb report 'Winterbourne View - Time for Change' recommends a planned closure programme of "inappropriate" in-patient facilities and better support for people to live at home and in the community, with a charter of rights and the ability to challenge care decisions.
Announcement posted on: 26 November 2014
Lords highlight key issues affecting the care workforce
The House of Lords debated the care sector recently, in a motion to take note instigated by Labour peer Baroness Kingsmill who this year carried out a review of the working conditions of care workers.Their Lordships covered a range of current issues including the actual costs of care, low pay, zero hours contracts, training, 15 minute visits, travel time and, importantly the need to fund social care adequately and for commissioning to improve.
UKHCA’s Policy Director, Colin Angel, said: “We welcome the Lords’ appreciation of the immense contribution of the care workforce, and the challenges this sector faces in recruitment and retention. Homecare workers do a tremendous job and it is essential they are properly recognised and rewarded.
“But a solution urgently needs to be found to the endemic issue of low pay and sometimes irresponsible procurement by councils. We agree with Baroness Kingsmill that the market is in many ways dysfunctional, and that more money is needed from Government to fund social care.
“We are encouraged that Statutory Guidance under the Care Act encourages councils to recognise the actual cost of providing care. We are actively asking local authorities to justify the rates they pay independent and voluntary sector providers, and whether these rates promote positive terms and conditions for workers, paying above the Minimum Wage and the right training to deliver the highest quality services.”
The debate, which is worth reading in full, is available at Hansard 25 November 2014.
Announcement posted on: 26 November 2014
CQC to decide on health and safety action from next April
The Health and Safety Executive currently decides whether to take action when staff and people receiving health and care services experience avoidable harm. From next April, this responsibility will transfer to the Care Quality Commission where the incident involves a user of a CQC-regulated service, for example, a patient death following a healthcare-associated infection in a hospital ward. The HSE, with local authorities, will continue to lead on health and safety involving workers, visitors and contractors, and people who use unregulated care services. The HSE is asking if the regulators’ respective responsibilities are clear and whether there are any regulatory gaps, in a consultation that closes on 31 December 2014.
Announcement posted on: 24 November 2014
New Cabinet, programme of work and Smith Commission report for Scotland
Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has announced her new Cabinet. Alex Neil moved from Health to Social Justice, Communities and Pensioners' Rights, and Shona Robison was promoted to Cabinet Secretary for Health, Wellbeing and Sport, while Finance Secretary John Swinney became Deputy First Minister. Cabinet Secretary for Fair Work, Skills and Training is Roseanna Cunningham and
Cabinet Secretary for Education and Lifelong Learning is Angela Constance. Details of new cabinet.
Nicola Sturgeon has set out the Government's programme of work for 2014-15,which includes:
- Steps to promote living wage, with new statutory guidance for wider public sector on how living wage should be taken into account in public contracts, and a "Scottish business pledge";
- £15m extra investment to reduce delayed discharges, which will be a "top priority";
- Integration of health and soical care - the transition is a key objective;
- A Carers' Bill to give family carers a say in the planning and delivery of services;
- An expectation that those within six months of end of life will not have to pay for care. Guidance to be strengthened to legislation if local government does not adhere.
The Smith Commission has published its report detailing Heads of Agreement on further devolution of powers to the Scottish Parliament, which recommended the Scottish Parliament should have new powers over some taxes and welfare payments. Key points according to the BBC. Smith Commission - effect on business - Scotsman article.
Announcement posted on: 21 November 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
UKHCA responds to inquiry into public expenditure on health and social care
The House of Commons Health Committee has conducted an inquiry into public expenditure on health and social care. Dr Sarah Wollaston MP, Chair of the Committee, said "... We aim to examine how the financial cake is divided across the NHS and social care as well as how the drivers within the system affect the delivery of care. We will also examine the future funding options for health and social care including international comparisons and the consequences of continuing the current financial squeeze on services for the people who depend on them." UKHCA has submitted a response on behalf of members.
Announcement posted on: 10 November 2014
Commons' Health Committee to examine end of life care
The House of Commons Health Committee has decided to examine Palliative and End of Life Care, looking at the way that health and social care services, and the voluntary and community sector, support people who are likely to die within 12 months, what opportunities exist for better integration and for improving care quality, and the experience of those caring for people at the end of life. The deadline for submissions is 15 December 2014. Members are invited to submit their views to firstname.lastname@example.org
Announcement posted on: 07 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
November edition of Homecarer available for members
In this issue: We comment on sector pay issues and call for greater transparency on costs of care; UKHCA Chief Executive Bridget Warr says care quality must take centre stage; We look at the Cavendish care certificate pilots; Anna Dabek of Anthony Collins Solicitors LLP discusses sleep ins and NMW; Towergate Patrick consider public and employers’ liability insurance; Executive Compass describe how they approached a “must win” bid; Jonathon Holmes explains England’s new inspection regime; We describe two consultations in Scotland and progress on legislation in Wales; Report on our successful event in Northern Ireland and launch our revised Minimum Price for Care paper. Download Homecarer
Announcement posted on: 31 October 2014
Homecare Workers' Travel Time
Commenting on an enquiry made under the Freedom of Information Act to local councils in England by Unison on the commissioning of homecare services which was reported in the press today, United Kingdom Homecare Association released the following media release: UKHCA Media Release: Homecare Workers' Travel Time. UKHCA Policy Director Colin Angel was also interviewed on BBC Radio 4's Today programme (01:50, available for four weeks).
Announcement posted on: 29 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
State of Social Care 2013/14
The Care Quality Commissioning has published its State of Social Care report for 2013/14, which considers the results of its inspections and draws some general conclusions from its regulatory efforts. The CQC said it found much excellent care, but also identified widespread variations in quality. The Commission said safe services occur where effective leadership builds a culture of safety, and by looking at CQC’s reports on outstanding and good care, other services can learn and improve. Homecare providers performed slightly better than the previous year, which was encouraging. CQC press release.
More on "State of Social Care 2013/14"
Announcement posted on: 20 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
Commissioning and the National Minimum Wage
UKHCA Policy Director Colin Angel gave a presentation on 7 October 2014 to the Independent Care Group conference in York on 'Commissioning and the National Minimum Wage', which members may find of interest.
Announcement posted on: 07 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
UKHCA’s comments on a “Negative Register” for the social care workforce
UKHCA has long supported the registration of social care workers with a statutory regulator as a way to promote public protection and raise the status of the social care workforce. There are currently no active plans for a compulsory registration for careworkers in England. The Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) has largely discounted a voluntary register and proposed a “negative register” for workers who should be prevented from working. UKHCA has written to HCPC chair and chief executive to highlight the duplication and missed opportunities such a proposal carries.
Members may be interested to read UKHCA's letter to HCPC on registration of the social care workforce.
Announcement posted on: 26 August 2014
Consultation on CQC guidance to help services meet new regulations
The Care Quality Commission have launched a consultation on proposed guidance for providers on meeting the new health and social care regulations and how they will use enforcement powers. New regulations setting out fundamental standards of quality and safety were laid before Parliament earlier this month. The full regulations (including a fit and proper person requirement and duty of candour) come into force for all social care and health services in April 2015. The consultation invites responses on the clarity and content of new guidance, designed to help providers meet the requirements of the new regulations. It will lead to the complete replacement, from April 2015, of CQC’s current Guidance about compliance: 'Essential standards of quality and safety' and the 28 ‘outcomes’ that it contains. It will also replace CQC’s current enforcement policy. UKHCA will be submitting a response and welcomes views from members, sent to email@example.com . We would be grateful for replies by 29 August. CQC also have an online option to respond by 17 October 2014.
More on "Consultation on CQC guidance to help services meet new regulations"
Announcement posted on: 28 July 2014
Fundamental standards coming in from April 2015
The Department of Health recently published a response to replies it received to three consultations on the regulation of health and care providers in England, namely, Introducing fundamental standards, The Duty of Candour and The fit and proper person requirements for directors. The DH response is at: “Requirements for registration with the Care Quality Commission: response to consultations on fundamental standards, the Duty of Candour and the fit and proper persons requirement for directors”. This is accompanied by revised draft regulations -The Health and Social Care Act 2008 (Regulated Activities) Regulations 2014. The DH has made a number of changes in response to the consultation, which are outlined in the response document, notably on enforcement and offences created by the new requirements.
Announcement posted on: 15 July 2014
Low Pay Commission consultation on NMW levels for 2015
The Low Pay Commission has sought views on what level of National Minimum Wage should apply in 2015, so it can advise Government in a report due to be published by the end of February 2015. The Commission launched a public consultation and held a series of visits across the UK to consider National Minimum Wage and other low pay issues, like apprentice rates. The Commission's remit is here and the public consultation closed on 26 September 2014. UKHCA submitted a response on behalf of members, in one of our most important representational activities of the year.
Announcement posted on: 04 July 2014