This joint statement has been produced to promote the publication of the updated Coronavirus (COVID-19) Support for Commissioned Providers guidance.
With the changes around provision of care during the COVID-19 pandemic taking place at pace, the guidance originally published to support commissioners in March has now been fully updated in line with current information and guidance produced by Welsh Government, Public Health Wales and other key partners.
At its heart, the guidance focuses on what commissioners should consider doing to practically assist social care (and health) providers to stabilise the adult social care market during this period of crisis. It is not intended to impede local successful relationships with providers but to recognise that nationally there are critical concerns about sustainability and price that need to be resolved to ensure care provision is viable now and in the foreseeable future.
Providers have several concerns which reflect their anxieties about being able to survive in the short term. Some of those concerns are operational, such as the need to ensure that care workers have the right Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and access to appropriate testing. However, there are also immediate and very pressing concerns about the increased costs they are facing and the impact this will have on their cash flow.
Local authorities also have concerns about the range of calls that are being made on the £40m of COVID-19 funding for social care, which has been made available to them by Welsh Government and the need to carefully monitor the additional costs being incurred to support adult social care providers.
Many authorities have already taken action to support providers in meeting the additional costs that they face locally and in managing cash flow challenges. The guidance to commissioners jointly issued at the end of March has helped to facilitate that support process.
We hope that the information about the scale and nature of the challenges and opportunities set out in this guidance will help councils who have not yet been able to agree what level of temporary additional support providers in their local area will need tofind that common ground.
Local Government in Wales fully supports the Ethical Framework for Social Care, which was agreed jointly by all four UK administrations. All discussions about service commissioning should be framed by the key values set out in the framework, which are:
- Minimising Harm
While the events and circumstances generated by the pandemic have been fast-moving and, in some cases, unforeseen, what has remained stable and consistent are the overarching policy objectives and design principles set out in A Healthier Wales, coupled with the open, honest and transparent communication required to foster those strong relationships.
We hope that commissioners will fully utilise the guidance to support their providers through this crisis, so we can emerge stronger together.
President, Association of Directors of Social Services (ADSS) Cymru
Cllr Huw David
Welsh Local Government Association (WLGA) Spokesperson for Health and Social Care