Care providers could face requirements to pay staff more, greater levels of monitoring and the prospect of being "named and shamed" for poor performance under plans to raise quality put forward by one council.
Providers could also face contractual requirements to provide safeguarding training to staff and receive performance-based fees under proposals in a "green paper", A Revolution in Care Quality, issued today by Staffordshire Council.
Many of the proposals carry a price tag and the council will decide how much it is willing to invest in the two-year initiative to improve quality following a consultation, which closes on 16 September.
On pay, the council intends to "work with the independent sector towards an accepted transparent working wage" for staff, though it is unclear whether this would be enforced through contracts or whether providers would voluntarily agree to pay it.
Staffordshire also plans to enhance the monitoring of care providers by carrying out more on-site quality reviews and employing more monitoring staff, backed up by a set of measurable quality standards capturing people's experience of care services.
Providers whom the council has suspended contracts with would be exposed publicly in order to incentivise those performing poorly to improve, while a breakdown of complaints, compliments and feedback for commissioned services would also be published, alongside information on council action taken off the back of them.
“We already deliver some of the highest standards of adult care in the UK, but we think it is time to get even tougher with the minority of providers who fail to deliver the quality of care which families not only expect, but have an absolute right to," said Matthew Ellis, cabinet member for adults and well-being at the council.
However, the green paper also includes plans to reward providers financially for "excellent" quality in their services. Last year, Staffordshire agreed to review its fees for care home providers after these were subject to a legal challenge by local providers.
While the council currently offers free safeguarding training to providers it commissions, such training would become mandatory and built into contracts with regulated and non-regulated providers alike. The council said it also wanted to commission research into training gaps at commissioned providers so that it could fund training to fill them.Mithran Samuel is Community Care's adults' editor.
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