Fremantle posts positive results after cutting use of agency staff

A reduction in agency staff use proved positive for The Fremantle Trust after it posted a surplus for the first time in five years.

The registered charity and not for profit organisation, which provides care and support services for older people and adults with a learning disability, reported income in the year ended 31 March 2018 of £52.4m (2017: £49.4m). This was mainly from fees for care and support services.

Expenditure reached £51.9m (2017: £49.7m), leaving the trust with an operating profit of £466,000 (2017: deficit £290,000).

Agency staff costs fell by £350,000 during the year, representing a 9% saving. The trust’s mind the gap initiative was introduced to encourage its own employees to fill a shift as opposed to going externally to an agency. The report said: ‘This has gone down well with homes and services and as a result several [homes] are not using agency staff anymore.’

It said the positive figures had also been achieved by reviewing its fee structure so that those who pay directly for their care do so at a cost that reflects their needs.

The trust, which has care homes in the London Borough of Barnet, Buckinghamshire, Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire, said retention remained a challenge but that its corporate induction programme was going from ‘strength to strength’. Employee turnover fell to 19% last year, from 21% in 2017, against an industry average of 27%.

However, greater scrutiny during regulatory inspections resulted in 26% of services rated Requires Improvement.

In December, Sara Livadeas was appointed chief executive of the trust and will take up her position on 23 January. Steven Flanagan resigned from his position in May.