Skip to main content

Fair Cost of Care and Market Sustainability Plan

Fair Cost of Care Survey

Fair Cost of Care surveys, for care homes for older people and visit-based home care services, were carried out during summer 2022. They were to prepare for the planned (but later deferred) implementation of adult social care funding reforms in October 2023. The Government's Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) asked all local authorities responsible for adult social care to survey care homes for older people and home care services in their area about the costs of providing their services.

The reason for carrying out these surveys was the plan to change the statutory framework for adult social care. These changes would entitle anyone needing care to ask the local authority to contract for this, regardless of their financial circumstances.

After the survey was completed it was announced that those reforms would be postponed for two years. We are now not certain whether they will go ahead in their original form.

Local authorities, at present, contract only for people who cannot afford to pay for care themselves. The reforms would have made local authorities responsible for many people who, under the current system, would contract with a care provider privately. As many care providers charge higher fees to private residents, this could have caused big financial issues for care providers and local authorities.

The Government's hope was that the survey would provide an indication of the extent to which fees paid by local authorities might need to rise as this change took effect, to minimise the impact on care providers. The Government had also carried out more financial modelling. This suggested that many local authorities were paying fees for the services surveyed which were not as high as was needed to sustain the long-term viability of the services. DHSC published an impact assessment about the upcoming This explains their hopes about the impact of the reforms on care providers, and the increases to fee levels likely to be required. Guidance about the "fair cost of care" survey was published in July 2022.

Market Sustainability Plans

Alongside the Cost of Care Exercise, local authorities were required to develop and submit a Market Sustainability Plan for care homes for older persons and visit-based home care, which:

  • takes into account the results from the cost of care exercises
  • considers the impact of future market changes over the next three years, particularly in the context of adult social care reform
  • sets out an outline action plan for addressing the issues identified and the priorities for market sustainability investment

Plymouth’s Market Sustainability Plan identifies the fragility of the local care market. It highlights issues such as increasing complexity and workforce challenges and starts to identify the actions the Local Authority, working with providers, needs to take to improve sustainability in the medium term.

Implementation of the Market Sustainability Plan will involve significant work with providers as the city strives to move towards a more sustainable model of care. A series of workshops were held with providers in February 2023 giving providers an opportunity to contribute to the Market Sustainability Plans and signalled the start of the implementation process.