A national costing tool for residential services for people with learning difficulties is being developed by the government to alleviate spending pressures.
The Care Services Improvement Partnership (CSIP) has asked providers of learning difficulties services to test out the tool.
But the Association for Real Change, an umbrella group for more than 400 learning difficulties providers, warned that regional variations in wages and property costs would make it difficult to enforce the toolkit nationally.
James Churchill, chief executive of ARC, said providers were also concerned that the national minimum wage was used as a benchmark wage in the tool. He added: "If this is cynically used by purchasers to drive down costs and standards of staffing it will spell disaster for the sector."
CSIP is developing the toolkit in its centres for excellence in the south west and south east of England, as part of its Getting to Grips with the Money initiative to tackle rising costs for learning difficulties services.
The computerised spreadsheet is based on existing models, including a fair pricing tool in Wiltshire that has led to nearly £3,000 in savings in residential care placements over a seven-month period.