ADASS survey reveals fragility of social care market

Almost a third of councils in England have seen homecare providers close or cease trading in the last six months, according to the Association for the Directors of Adult Social Services (ADASS) Budget Survey 2018.

The survey, which was completed by 152 councils (100%), found that 34 authorities had seen one homecare provider close, while 12 saw two operators shut. One council said it had seen three close, with another reporting it had seen four shut. A total of 65 homecare providers were reported to have closed or ceased trade in the 48 authority areas.

As many as 58 councils reported closures of residential or nursing care providers in the last six months, with one authority seeing as many as 10 closures. A total of 135 care home providers were reported to have closed or ceased trade in the 58 authority areas.

The research predicts that the homecare closures impacted 3,290 people, while the care homes shutting affected 2,492 people.

In total, 44 councils reported that they had contracts handed back to them by homecare providers, with 100 contracts handed back. Seventeen councils reported contracts handed back from care home providers, with a total of 45 contracts being handed back.

ADASS said the homecare handbacks impacted 2,679 people, while the care home contract returns impacted 334 people, according to the results.

The analysis found that 83% of adult social services directors believe the national living wage will be the biggest driver of increase in costs for residential, nursing and homecare, costing authorities £585m. The respondents believe that ‘increasing salaries is the change most needed to ensure the sufficiency of care workers in their local area.’

The survey found that 92% of councils that increased their precepts to cover social care costs said they did so just to keep pace with demographic pressures.

Glen Garrod, ADASS president, said: ‘It is a serious concern that we have such a fragile social care market, where 48 councils across the country have seen care providers close or cease to trade in the last six months – this means that people do not have the choice over the care that they should have and the potential to transform lives is being lost.

‘There is an undeniable, urgent and imperative requirement on the government to act to ensure interim funding continues until the green paper is implemented, that the social care workforce receives the wages and esteem it deserves, that the market is safeguarded, and that the long-term funding solution that social care desperately needs is finally delivered.’