Hft responds to inquiry calling for the regulation of local authority fees
Hft, a national charity that supports adults with learning disabilities, has submitted evidence to the Public Accounts Committee inquiry into the National Audit Office (NAO)’s report into the health and social care interface.
The report by the NAO highlighted the challenges facing joined-up working between the NHS and local authorities in regards to social care. Hft used this inquiry to call on CQC to be given powers to regulate the fees paid by local authorities to commission social care.
Since February 2016 the charity has run the It Doesn’t Add Up campaign. This has sought to raise awareness of financial pressures facing the social care sector due to increases in the National Living Wage, which are not always being factored into the fees being paid by local authorities.
Billy Davis, Public Affairs and Policy Manager at Hft, commented: “While it is disappointing that the report focuses primarily on elderly care, with learning disabilities once again only getting a passing reference, the NAO’s report contains some key learnings that are applicable to the whole sector.
“According to independent research commissioned by Hft, 89% of providers in the learning disability sector think the current model of commissioning is not fit for purpose. Providers are heavily regulated by CQC and we are rightly judged by our ability to deliver the best support possible for the people who need it. By contrast, the fees that local authorities pay are not regulated, and as local funding pots continue to be squeezed, we are seeing the amount that local authorities are able to commission begin to decrease.
“In our response to the inquiry we call on CQC, who already have market oversight capabilities for social care, to be given the power to regulate the level at which local authorities commission care packages. By ensuring local authorities commission care in a financially sustainable way, it is Hft’s belief that this will restore financial stability to the sector, creating vibrant local markets, which will help facilitate greater joined-up working between the NHS and the social care sector.
“We hope that the committee will consider our evidence carefully, and we look forward to reading the final report.”