In response to the COVID-19 pandemic the government has announced additional funding to local authorities to help them meet the increased demand for adult social care and to provide additional support to social care providers.
The following outlines the financial support we're making available immediately to care providers in Barnsley to make sure essential services continue and that the local adult care market is supported and financially resilient.
Support will be available to all contracted and non-contracted care and support providers of the council across the following range of provision:
- residential / nursing care homes;
- domiciliary care;
- supported living;
- day and respite centres;
- shared lives carers;
- providers who are funded through direct payment arrangements.
Cash flow support
As providers focus on providing care support to people at the same time as managing staff capacity issues, we'll seek to alleviate cash flow concerns through the following measures:
- All care providers will be removed from the our Premier Supplier Scheme, ensuring full payment of invoices with no discounts payable.
- Payment terms will not be applied ensuring that invoices will be paid immediately.
- Home care providers (including supported living providers) will be paid ‘on plan’, ie based on the planned care hours.
- Residential care homes will be paid weekly based on planned support.
- Payments to long term shared lives carers will be continue in line with current payment arrangements.
- Block contract payments to support providers will continue to be made in line with agreed contractual arrangements.
- Payments will continue to be made to direct payment recipients and those service users will be encouraged to pay providers under the current service agreement.
Providers are encouraged to maintain reasonable records to assist with any future reconciliation (the impact on providers will be considered).
Workforce / additional costs support
We expect care providers to deploy their staff flexibly, hire additional staff or use agency staff to meet increased demand or to ensure continuity of service. We expect providers to immediately notify and work with our commissioners to resolve capacity issues.
Financial support in the form of lump sum payments (based on a percentage of council payments in 2019/20) will be made by us to ensure providers resilience to manage the following staffing related pressures:
- use of temporary or back-fill staff eg agency costs;
- increased statutory sick pay costs due to higher staff sickness absences;
- increased costs associated with enhanced infection control, eg more personal protective equipment (PPE);
- other related costs eg administration / management;
Providers are reminded to maintain reasonable records / details of costs.
Changes to care support or packages
It is inevitable that providers would need to adjust service delivery rapidly to meet changing demands and urgent needs of the most vulnerable. To reduce potential delay in people receiving the care that they need, we'll provide the following support:
- Commissioners are currently reviewing thresholds / limits for agreeing changes in care or support packages without formal approval.
- One agreed, invoices for additional care provided within agreed limits will be paid immediately.
Providers are to keep commissioners informed of any significant provision above plan, and notify commissioners of significant service delivery changes, eg service closure or suspension.
Support for committed / unfunded costs
To ensure providers are not financially impacted in the meantime and to address any cost pressures concerns, a cash advance (on the lump sum payment for workforce / additional costs – see above) will be made immediately by us to support providers.
The above details will be reviewed regularly and updated in line with new developments and changes to support arrangements.