Martin Green: ‘Fund providers to ensure personalisation success’

The majority of funding for delivering personalisation must be channelled through providers, not councils, if the government wants to achieve its aims.

That was the message from English Community Care Association chief executive Martin Green (right) in an attack on the quality of social care commissioning by councils, at ECCA’s annual conference last week.

Green, whose organisation represents independent care homes, disputed that social care was under-funded by government, claiming instead that money was in the wrong place.

Straight to providers

He said the majority of transitional funding to support personalisation should be given straight to providers.

This includes the £520m social care reform grant, which councils are supposed to use from 2008-11 to develop a system of personal budgets, shift provision from crisis to prevention, improve skills and provide universal information and advice to all users.

Green told ECCA members: “If the personalisation agenda is going to be delivered, it’s not going to be delivered by people sitting in county hall offices, but by people like you delivering services.”

Green, a long-time critic of council commissioning, reiterated claims that providers had suffered years of sub-inflationary fee increases from councils, saying the residential care sector had been “in a credit crunch for several years”.

Henry Ford approach

Speaking after government figures revealed a 14% drop in the number of people funded by councils in care homes, and an accompanying rise in the number supported to live at home, Green accused some councils of a “Henry Ford” approach to commissioning: “You can have any service as long as it’s not residential care.”

He said one commissioner had accused residential care providers of being the sector’s “dinosaurs” at a recent conference, adding: “I asked him if he had dealt with someone with severe dementia, rather than the articulate service user. Residential care is right for them.”

Speaking at the same conference, Association of Directors of Adult Social Services president John Dixon admitted that there was some “very bad commissioning practice that valued quality much lower than cost”, which he “certainly did not condone”.

He added that as Adass president he had “no control” over councils’ actions but said he would be happy to take up specific examples of poor commissioning presented to him.

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