Agenda item

Care Home Sustainability and Quality Report.


The Committee considered a report of the Director of Adults and Communities, the purpose of which was to provide an update on market sustainability, with a focus on the older adult residential care market and the nursing care market. The report also provided an update on quality in the residential and nursing care markets. A copy of the report marked ‘Agenda Item 8’ is filed with these minutes.


Arising from discussion the following points were made:


i.          A Member questioned what more could be done to improve Leicestershire’s rating to move it from the third quartile in terms of the number of care homes rated ‘Outstanding’ or ‘Good’ when compared to the national average. The Director commented that the Authority worked with regional colleagues and national networks to identify best practice elsewhere. It was also noted there was a wide range of complex variables in the East Midlands when compared nationally, but the Authority would continue to ensure providers were well supported and would assist in the development of provider improvement strategies to ensure Leicestershire residents were receiving a quality service.


ii.          The Committee noted that Leicestershire had 133 care homes and 36 nursing homes, and of the 79.6% rated as Outstanding or Good, most were nursing homes.

iii.          A Member questioned if using block contracts could be more beneficial to the Authority. Officers confirmed this option was being explored, and discussions were being held with other authorities that used this approach, to determine the best way forward. The aim of block contracts would be to gain beneficial rates and provide certainty over capacity for people over the difficult winter months and beyond.  The Department would need to move forward cautiously to ensure this was achieved.


iv.          A Member questioned if the block contracts would only given to care homes rated as Outstanding, as an incentive to bring others up to that level. The Director confirmed that the upper end of the market would be targeted but only a small proportion of homes were rated as Outstanding and therefore it might not be possible to set this as a key criteria.  The Director provided assurance that the priority would be to provide a quality service.  Work to look at individual bidders through the contract and quality team was therefore undertaken to properly understand how good homes were at any given point in time, noting that some homes might be rated as good or outstanding, but had potentially not been revisited by the CQC for a long time.


v.          A Member referenced the recruitment challenges faced across the sector and questioned what the position was currently in Leicestershire. Officers reported there were still recruitment and retention challenges, and there had recently been a report issued from Government on the state of the workforce for the country overall. It was noted that international recruitment had been used by Leicestershire providers increasingly over the past couple of years, more so for home care rather than care homes, with some sponsored staff working withing care home environments. It was further noted there were more men starting to work in adult social care which was positive. There remained increasing challenges, however around an ageing workforce.


The Chair thanked officers for the report and commented that having visited some Leicestershire care homes when joining the Committee, he had been reassured as to the standard of service provided.  The Chair suggested that if newer Members of the Committee wished to similarly undertake a visit of some of Leicestershire’s  care homes that they should first contact the Director through the Democratic Services Team.




That the Care Home Sustainability and Quality report be noted.


Supporting documents: