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United Kingdom Homecare Association Ltd (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.

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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 ailsa.blair@ukhca.co.uk. 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 insight@cqc.org.uk.

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

 

Invitation to Employment Relations Event - Antrim

UKHCA and IHCP would like to invite all members in Northern Ireland to an Employment Relations Event in Antrim on the 3rd March 2015.

A representative from the Labour Relations Agency will offer a brief talk on the services that their organisation offer, including an overview of how to deal with a recognition request from a trade union. A representative from UNISON will also be in attendance to give an insight into how employers and unions can achieve good working relations. There will be opportunity for questions and open discussion with both representatives.

UKHCA and IHCP will also have representatives available to answer questions and offer information.

The event begins at 10.00 am and will be held at the Legal Island Training Centre, Station Road, Antrim, BT41 1BH.

For further information please click here, or to confirm attendance please e-mail liz.marshall@ihcp.co.uk.

We look forward to welcoming you to what should be an informative and worthwhile event for all domiciliary care providers in Northern Ireland.

Announcement posted on: 05 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:
http://campaigns.dh.gov.uk/2014/12/30/care-support-public-information-campaign-materials/

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

 

CQC sets out plans to call time on ‘inadequate’ adult social care

Adult social care services in England that fail to improve within a year of being rated as ‘inadequate’ overall, will face closure as part of CQC’s plans to tackle failing care. Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt asked CQC in July to develop a 'special measures' regime for adult social care in England. The CQC is asking for views on its special measures proposals before the final policy is published in March 2015. There is a short consultation document setting out how special measures will work, and a feedback form at: www.cqc.org.uk/ascspecialmeasures The web form is to remain open until 30 January 2015. We encourage UKHCA members to send their views to CQC, and share them with policy@ukhca.co.uk so we can prepare a response on behalf of UKHCA members. UKHCA press release welcoming the Health Secretary's announcement in July 2014.

Announcement posted on: 19 December 2014

 

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

 

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
Guardian article

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 policy@ukhca.co.uk

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

 

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

 

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

 

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