In preparation for changes linked to the new Care Act, the Department of Health and Social Care asked all councils to carry out a "cost of care" exercise and report on these findings on 1 February 2023.
The cost of care describes the how much a care provider has to pay to deliver care at the time the exercise is carried out. It is typically presented as a unit cost for an hour of domiciliary care or a bed per week in a care home.
Fee rates or prices most commonly refer to the figure a council sets and/or agrees to pay a provider for a particular service and will change in relation to the type of service, contractual framework or level of need.
The outcome of the cost of care exercise is not a replacement for the fee-setting element of commissioning processes or individual contract negotiation.
The council is expected to work towards commissioning care at prices that are sustainable for the local market. This cost of care exercise was designed to start national data collection as way of standardising cost reporting using a median and quartile values for each care setting.
Collecting the data
Organisations that are based in Ealing and run CQC registered older adults care homes (65 years and older) or domiciliary care for people aged 18 years and older were asked to send data to the council on a data collection template. This was voluntary. The data was then analysed and reported.
There are noted limitations with this approach, due to the variation in the market and the statistical relevance of the sample size. This initial sample for Ealing may oversimplify what is a complex picture of care and support needs and operating models. The guidance did not ask councils to collect or analyse costs or average prices paid for accommodation-based support for working age adults.
This has been a useful exercise, as intelligence about cost and the variables that affect cost will inform our ongoing engagement with the local market, regional and sub regional stakeholders, helping us to shape sustainable commissioning, contracting and price strategies. In March 2023, the council will submit and share an updated Market Sustainability Plan.
Publishing the data
The Department of Health and Social Care asked all councils to publish their cost of care data on 1 February 2023. This exercise reflects costs sent to us and shared with the Department of Health in October 2022. No further changes have been made to the data or explanatory reports since October 2022.